X-Men #2

X-Men #2 Review

X-Men #2

Gerry Duggan and Pepe Larraz got off to a good start for the new era of the X-Men. The team returned to their superhero roots by creating a new headquarters in the middle of New York City. With Cyclops, Jean Grey, Sunfire, Synch, Wolverine, Polaris, and Rogue making up the new team the X-Men did not waste any time in showing the world they are one of the best superhero teams. Now that they are back to being superheroes how will the X-Men continue to work within the current Marvel Universe? Let’s find out with X-Men #2

Writer: Gerry Duggan

Artist: Pepe Larraz

Colorist: Marte Gracia

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: In the Treehouse (the X-Men’s headquarters in New Yor City), Rogue gets pissed when she finds Gambit hosting a poker night with The Thing, Black Cat and Rhino. Rogue immediately kicks everyone out.

Over in Gameworld, Cordyceps Jones agrees to a new wager proposed by Kriv Yu of the Numari to send an Annihilation Wave to Earth.

Later, in Iola, Kansas, Kriv Yu unleashes an Annihilation Wave on the town.

Back at the Treehouse, Jean Grey is training Synch so he can understand how to telepathy. Synch thanks Jean for mentoring him, noting that Emma Frost was right about learning a lot from Jean. Jean says that they are teammates and they can learn a lot from everyone. She goes on to mention how Synch, after his time in The Vault with Wolverine (Laura Kinney), has a hundred years of experience on her and Scott Summers.

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Jean Gey trains Synch on how to use telepathy powers in X-Men #2. Click for full page view.

Synch and Jean suddenly sense something coming from the west. Jean immediately notifies the rest of the X-Men to assemble.

On the Thunderbird (the new X-Men jet named in honor of John Proudstar) the X-Men are heading to Kansas, following a lead given to them by S.W.O.R.D.

As they head to Kansas, Synch continues to use telepathy with Jean overseeing his usage of the power. Synch reveals that he has been trying to figure out how to tell Laura about the time they shared in the Vault but only wants to do so if she asks about it. Jean offers to let Synch use her telepathy powers to do so when the time comes.

Finally arriving in Iola, Kansas, Rogue leads the X-Men to fight the Annihilation Wave. While Wolverine goes for a direct attack Jean and Polaris combine their powers to hit the Annihilation Wave with many large pieces of logs. Rogue grabs one of the pieces of logs and chucks it at the Annihilation Wave with Cyclops blasting the piece of log with an optic blast. This combo attack hits the Annihilation Wave with sharp pieces of wood.

The X-Men continue to do their best to hold off the Annihilation Wave in order to let the citizens of Iola time to escape. Cyclops orders Sunfire to hold the perimeter while Jean Grey and Polaris work on the covering town in a protective bubble.

Jean suddenly detects something in the middle of the Annihilation Wave. Synch switches to using Polaris powers so that he can take over maintaining the protective bubble around the town

With the rest of the X-Men fighting off the Annihilation Wave Polaris goes with Jean inside he Annihilation Wave while creating a protective bubble around them. As they head deeper inside the Annihilation Wave Jean says that she can detect some of the neurons of Kriv Yu and wants to get to where they are to discover how to stop this attack.

Outside, Cyclops, Rogue, Wolverine, and Sunfire do their best to hold off the Annihilation Wave. Several Iola citizens join in defending the town.

Back inside the Annihilation Wave, Jean combines her powers with Polaris to create an MRI machine through her telepathy to read what remains of Kriv Yu. Jean figures out what to do and immediately sends the information to Sunfire.

Sunfire uses the information to launch a full power fire blast that completely wipes out the Annihilation wave.

As the dust settles Jean reveals that she found something while reading Kriv Yu that she will tell Scott about later.

As the X-Men prepare to leave the citizens of Iola stop them. One of the citizens asks for Sunfire’s name. Sunfire says his name and tells the citizens about his backstory so they can understand the reason he became an X-Men was to be of service to the world so he is happy he got do so today. The citizens ask the X-Men to stay so they can treat them to some food.

Later the X-Men attend a barbeque the Iola citizens are holding for them at a park.

Elsewhere, a family is sitting down for a meal. The wife apologizes if the food isn’t perfect. The husband says that it is fine as they can make the recipe perfect tomorrow. The wife and son of the family suddenly fall face first dead on the table.

The husband is revealed to be Dr. Stasis of the Orchis organization. Dr. Stasis orders an Orchis member named Bornan to clean things up while he looks over the latest autopsy reports.

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Sunfire reveals the case he made for himself to join the X-Men during the Hellfire Gala in X-Men #2. Click for full page view.

It is shown from Dr. Stasis report to Dr. Devo that the autopsy report is that of Scott Summers deceased body from when the X-Men attacked the Orchis space station (as seen in House of X #4). Dr. Stasis states he wants to push public perception of Krakoa being a secretive island cult to further Orchis mission statement for humanity. Dr. Stasis ends his report by saying that he is going to move forward with experimenting his hypothesis on Krakoa’s resurrection protocols. End of issue.

The Good: Keeping the momentum of the first issue moving forward Gerry Duggan and Pepe Larraz continue the path of returning the X-Men to their superhero roots. The narrative in X-Men #2 further pushes that forward as we get to see the team once again shine as superheroes.

As with the first issue of this series, the big standout of X-Men #2 was the teamwork shown by the team. Led by Cyclops as the field leader we see how each member of the X-Men plays an important role in defeating the latest Annihilation Wave that is attacking Earth. Whether it was Laura Kinney’s Wolverine cutting through the Annihilation Wave to Synch alternating roles depending on what was needed, everything just worked. It all showed that while this is a new X-Men team each member is bringing a great deal of experience to the table that makes them an effective team already.

The combo attacks in particular helped pushed how well the team chemistry is being handled for this X-Men team. Through this Duggan showcases why Scott Summers and Jean Grey work as the co-leaders of the X-Men team. At different points they take on directing the rest of the team so they can maximize the powers of their teammates. It was a great way to show rather than tell the reader how Scott and Jean really work best as leaders who understand when they should each take charge in any given moment.

In the process we once again see how every member of the X-Men are powerhouses in their own right. In this instance we once again see how Polaris one of the best characters to play the support role of the team. Her powers allow her to either be the powerhouse of the team or provide different defensive measures for the team. The defense part of Polaris’ powers came in most handy in X-Men #2 as she first creates a protective bubble around the town in Kansas and then another one to protect her and Jean Grey from the Annihilation Wave.

The same can be said with Synch with how he is able to alternate from using Jean Grey’s telepathic and psychic powers to Polaris’ magnetic powers. The more important part of Synch’s showing in X-Men #2 is that before this Annihilation Wave attack we saw that he is putting in the training to understand how to use his teammates abilities. This further gets over how differently Synch’s powers work from Rogue as he is able to alternate between different powers at a moments notice. Because of that flexibility taking the initiative to train under the tutelage of his teammates, as he does in X-Men #2 with Jean Grey, makes Synch an even more compelling character.

The development of Synch’s power also helps to make the sub-plot of Everett trying to figure out how to talk with Laura after their experience in the Vault even more interesting. His brief psychic talk with Jean shows that Everett wants desperately to talk to Laura about their relationship. But he isn’t trying to force the matter on Laura as he understands how that would likely lead him to push her away from him. How Everett personally continues to progress along with training in using his teammates powers are equally interesting to see play out.

Having the X-Men deal with a new Annihilation Wave also worked well to tie into the current Last Annihilation event that S.W.O.R.D. and the Guardians of the Galaxy are handling without the crossover being necessary to read. Duggan writes this latest Annihilation Wave in a way to further highlight how he X-Men do not hesitate to save the day similar to the Avengers and Fantastic Four. At the same time, for those reading the Last Annihilation crossover event there are references here that work to further that story.

The Annihilation Wave also further positions the current narrative of Cordyceps Jones hosting beats around the fate of Earth on Gameworld to be the main plot of the first few issues of the new X-Men series. Jean being able to find enough information in what was left of Kriv Yu’s mind about firmly establishes how Gameworld is going to be a big focus in the immediate future. How Cordyceps Jones reacts to his game being discovered will be interesting to see given the cosmic level of his attacks on Earth thus far.

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Cyclops leads the X-Men to take on the Annihilation Wave in X-Men #2. Click for full page view.

Gameworld getting the main focus helps keep the greater narrative around Orchis to continue to play out in the shadows as a sub-plot in X-Men. And we see that the Orchis sub-plot took a big step forward with how Duggan’s brings the events of House of X back into play. In particular, we see how the Krakoa’s attempt to take down Orchis is likely a major error on Krakoa’s part. Dr. Stasis and Orchis having access to test the dead body of Cyclops, the only body of the Krakoan strike team that could be tested on, is eyebrow raising. It is a great way to use the information pages we’ve seen throughout all the X-Men franchise comics to build even greater interesting in the long term future of the X-Men.

It was also great to see Duggan dig into what motivated Sunfire to join the X-Men. Actually showing us the case Shiro Yoshida made for himself during the Hellfire Gala made him as compelling a character as the rest of the X-Men. It does got into the growth of Shiro as Sunfire throughout his history. This character development made the display of power Sunfire showed when wiping out the Annihilation Wave standout even more.

Pepe Larraz continues to deliver some of the best artwork found in the X-Men franchise right now. Larraz has such a great understanding of how to present the main X-Men series as a big event comic book. Everything from the action to character development everything looked great. The Sunfire full power blast in particular was a pure spectacle that delivered on how much power the character has.

The Bad: X-Men #2 could’ve rated slightly higher if the opening page being something different entirely. Gambit’s poker night just did not hit on the comedic note that Duggan was going for. It felt completely out of place with the direction of this series. This opening page could’ve been better used to instead show us Rogue and Wolverine training together since they didn’t get much in the way of lines in X-Men #2.

Overall: X-Men #2 does a great job further reestablishing the team on the same level as the Avengers and Fantastic Four. Every member of the X-Men are given a chance to showcase themselves as effectively working together and being powerhouses in their own right. The final few pages of X-Men #2 effectively use the events of House of X and Powers of X to build greater excitement for the future of the franchise.

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