Controversy aside, the X-Men have been placed back on a road that will help right the ship with the stories created in the core Blue and Gold titles. X-Men: Blue in particular set-up an intriguing premise with the original five X-Men choosing to work under the tutelage of Magneto. Given the fact that the original X-Men only know Magneto as the villain who has tried to kill them on multiple occasions there is a lot of potential in where Cullen Bunn can take the series. Some additional problems within the the team’s dynamic should add to future storylines. Let’s see what Bunn has in store for us next with X-Men: Blue #2.
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Jorge Molina
Colorist: Matt Milla
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Two months ago in a salvage yard Jean Grey meets with Magneto. Jean expresses her concern over trusting Magneto as he is the first mutant that tried to kill her and her friends, as well as making their meeting in a place full of metal. Jean then questions how many wars Magneto has started even with others have vouching for his recent change.
Magneto says Jean is right in everything she said which is why he wanted to meet her. Magneto expresses how he used to fight against Professor X’s dream but now believes that if mutants are to survive they must co-exist with humans. Magneto goes on to say to make sure that threats to Xavier’s dream still exist and he needs allies to reflect the best of mutant kind, which is why he asked to meet Jean.
Understanding the young Jean still distrusts him Magneto takes his helmet off and allows Jean to peek inside his mind. Jean does so and what she sees convinces her to agree to join Magneto.
In the present Jean, Cyclops and Angel are fighting Magneto in the middle of a destroyed city. The three try to combine their powers to overwhelm Magneto but his mastery over magnetism is too much for the X-Men to break through his shield. Magneto throws a train on top of Cyclops much to Angel and Jean’s horror.
A few minutes later Jean recovers Cyclops and shuts down the Danger Room session located inside their new X-Men HQ in Mandripoor. It’s revealed that Jean, Cyclops and Angel have been using the Danger Room to train in secret in order to defeat Magneto. Cyclops expresses how they would’ve done better if Iceman and Beast were with them. Jean thinks so to and that it is unacceptable that they both missed the training session. Angel says he’ll go find Iceman while Cyclops goes off to talk to Beast.
Cyclops finds Beast in his lab talking to himself. Beast says he does it to work out his crisis of faith and self-doubt. Cyclops mentions that Beast missed practice. Beast says was busy and if Cyclops keeps distracting him he’ll end up missing the other Danger Room sessions.
Cyclops apologizes for jumping down Beast’s throat about using magic earlier. Beast says he understands that those that don’t get magic are scared of it, just like others are scared of mutant powers. Cyclops mentions he was just trying to apologize and it’s clear Beast is dealing with things. Beast accepts Cyclops apology and says he needs to get back to work.
Cyclops then wonders why they followed Jean. Beast mentions Cyclops unrequited love for her which Cyclops sees as a cue for him to leave.
After Cyclops leaves Beast’s eyes begin to glow and someone speaks off screen about how Cyclops is still scared of magic.
Elsewhere Angel finds Iceman in his room leaving a voicemail on his boyfriends phone. Iceman mentions in his message how hard the long distance has been. Angel leaves without saying anything or letting Iceman know he was there to hear the message.
In the living room Magneto says he hopes the training session went well. Jean wonders if Magneto was watching them. Magneto says he is not acting as a headmaster as it is not his role to fill. Jean says that the training did go well.
Ferris, Magneto’s robot butler, asks Jean if she needs anything. Jean says she doesn’t. She then asks Magneto if he has found White Queen. Magneto says it will take some time as their enemies are ones that reveal themselves on their schedule.
Jean then thinks back to when she went inside Magneto’s mind two months ago. Jean uses decoys just in case Magneto is able to see where she is going inside his mind. Jean eventually finds a door to go through. The door takes her to Magneto’s childhood memories when he was in the Nazi concentration camps. Jean starts crying from what she sees.
In the present Jean continues to think at how much Magneto has lost. The HQ’s alarm goes off to alert all the X-Men that Sentinels have been detected in Barcelona, Spain. Jean contacts all the X-Men to get ready to head out.
A little later the X-Men are on their way to Barcelona. Inside the Blackbird Iceman mentions that if Magneto wanted them dead having them fight Sentinels is a good way to do so. Cyclops tells Iceman to chill out as they would be fighting Sentinels even if they stayed with Professor Kitty Pryde.
The X-Men finally arrive in Barcelona where the Sentinels are already destroying the city. The Sentinels detect the X-Men and they say “Greetings fellow mutant” much to the team’s confusion.
In Madripoor, Magneto tells Ferris to monitor the X-Men even though he knows they can take care of the Sentinels.
Magneto then walks downstairs and asks Ferris how their project going. Ferris says it is going well as the platform to send the original X-Men back to their timeline is almost ready to be used. End of issue.
The Good: Cullen Bunn plays it smart by going all in on the most interesting part of X-Men: Blue #1 by focusing on furthering the current status quo of the original team’s dynamic. By doing so Bunn is able to show us why the original X-Men’s presence in the present is such an interesting story to follow. Bunn has so far done an excellent job making Blue an extension of the best parts of Brian Bendis’ run on All-New X-Men.
Kicking things off with what led the original X-Men to team-up with Magneto was a smart play. This is something that needed to be established given that before X-Men: Blue #1 we never really had the original team interact with the present day Magneto. Because of that it was not clear why they would ever join Magneto’s side since they have nothing but bad experience with him.
Having Jean be the one that meet with Magneto allowed Bunn to give us a quick explanation as to why the original X-Men would join his side. Tapping into Magneto’s tragic history made it be clear how the original X-Men would join their former nemesis. Jean’s reaction to Magneto’s time in the Nazi concentration Camp also helped us understand why there is greater awkwardness between the two, especially on Jean’s part.
At the same time, it is good to see that Magneto does not have the complete trust of the original X-Men. Seeing Cyclops, Jean and Angel training in the Danger Room to be prepared to fight the present day Magneto was an effective way to show this. It was also a good wake up call that for as strong as they’ve gotten the original X-Men are in no way the level of their older selves or present day Magneto. It also helped to establish how much stronger the team is when the five are together than being separated into several smaller groups.
That fact made the development of Cyclops and Beast tense relationship be even more effective. It’s clear that seeing their present has made their friendship be on incredibly shaky grounds. That tension made how uncomfortable Beast continued to make Cyclops attempt at an apology show us how the team in general is not on the same page yet.
The scene between Beast and Cyclops also further highlighted the change the former has gone through since coming to the present. Beast has probably had the most development of the original X-Men as his natural curiosity has made him delve into things about the present day he never knew. Seeing how much the character has changed makes the mystery of what tapping into the magical realm of the Marvel Universe an even more intriguing plotline that is hopefully explored in more depth.
Though he did not get as big of spotlight as Jean, Beast and Cyclops it was good to see Bunn give some attention to Iceman. Showing us how complicated his current long distance relationship is made Iceman joking around with his teammates have a greater meeting. From how Angel silently watched the conversation it is clear Iceman isn’t opening up to the others yet. That shield Iceman keeps putting up could lead to some bigger character development down the line when he starts opening up to how his personal life is going with the at least one member on his team.
On the other side of things, it was interesting to see how Bunn kept Magneto at a distance from the original X-Men. Though there is clear conviction in Magneto’s speech about making Xavier’s dream a reality it does not mean he is looking to replace the X-Men mentor. Instead he is allowing the X-Men have their own sense of independence since he knows they’ve been relying on others advice. It’s an interesting angle to go with as it allows Bunn to create the idea that the current status quo of Magneto leading the original X-Men is not permanent.
That idea is furthered with the ending reveal showing that Magneto’s real intentions are to send the original X-Men back to their timeline. This sub-plot can go several ways that give us a good underlying mystery to follow its developments. It also makes you question what Magneto’s endgame really is when it comes to tracking down villains like Black Tom Cassidy and Emma Frost.
Outside a few panels where character necks got suddenly long, Jorge Molina’s artwork enhanced the story the Bunn was telling. He provides a youthful energy that matches the fact that we are following the original X-Men, who are still teenagers. That energy allows the scenes where we see tension between different characters have more of a teen drama look to it. At the same time, Molina gets across how Magneto is a character with a wealth of good and bad experiences. Though it was only one panel, Molina’s design for the new Sentinels was also well done to show us how advance they have become.
The Bad: Though the sub-plot is intriguing, it would be help Beast’s story if we understood where he learned to use magic in the first place. As someone that did not read the most recent volume of All-New X-Men, seeing how deep Beast has gone in on magical world felt off. It would help if Bunn at least dropped a mention of Doctor Strange or whoever may have been Beast magic mentor. Because as it is presented in these two issues, it does feel out of nowhere since there has never been a version of the character that has shown an affinity for magic.
Overall: X-Men: Blue #2 was an excellent follow-up to the status quo that was established in the first issue of this core X-Men series. Cullen Bunn has set-up several intriguing plotlines that gives fans a lot to look forward to in the future of this series. Hopefully this momentum continues as the X-Men are now positioned to regain the relevance they lost in the last few years.