If Age of X-Man is teaching us anything, it’s to know thyself. So far the characters act out of character, but that’s because they don’t know who they are. We know this since some of them get flashes of their true selves, like Bishop in Prisoner X, but many still appear brainwashed. Learning a bit about oneself is a big part of the second issue in the Marvelous X-Men, which drops today.
So what’s it about?
Read the preview.
Why does this matter?
One might call this the main series of the event due to the X-Men being the main cast (and X-Man being in the book too). It’s also written by Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler, who kicked this whole thing off. Sit back and enjoy yourself because this issue progresses things nicely.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens at a rally in Central Park. It’s a peaceful one but it’s also run by Apocolypse and by his side are Kitty Pryde and kid Apocalypse. One might think violence would be a major factor, but posturing and speaking truth are the names of the game. This is a different war in this event — a war of ideas. The rally has the X-Men standing by to help if anything goes wrong which puts them in a tight spot given the fact that Apocalypse preaching about love and relationships is a good thing. The speech is well written making you root for the once villain now turned shaman.
The most fascinating element of this issue is how key characters get little snapshots of their true selves. It throws into question who they are and what they’re even doing, which in many ways a rally aims to do. One of these flashes ends up being the catalyst for a confrontation and ultimately a major split amongst the X-Men. It’s fun to see how this tightly knit family isn’t so tight when they aren’t themselves. The writing team does a good job exploring the characters deep un-hidable traits like Laura’s rage or Colossus desire.
This issue also does a good job fleshing out the world establishing new details about how we got here. A giant Wolverine statue, for instance, gives the impression he died a hero, but probably died as a lie. The writing team also gives readers a good quote to chew on to help better understand what is going through the minds of the characters at a deeper level. Also, props to the writing team for making a call back to the fires of the last issue so that they add a new layer to the narrative.
Art by Marco Failla and colors by Matt Milla are great and some of the best of the event yet. Apocalypse somehow exudes a scary vibe, but he’s also inspirational in his posture and demeanor. In a key scene, the X-Men debate what they should do and it’s all cast in a green hue that’s sickly, suiting the messed up nature of what they all stand for. Magneto goes through a whole slew of emotions all captured expertly well. You’ll feel for the old bastard.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Something missing from the narrative is why these characters’ holds on their past lives are breaking through so often. Let’s pretend they’ve only been living in this reality for as long as we know them. That’s not very long which makes the illusion all the more pathetic. Aside from accidental touching, there’s nothing at the root of these revelations, making them somewhat arbitrary and pointless outside of the plot itself.
Is it good?
I may not have loved the first issue in this series, but the second redeems itself and then some. The world is becoming richer with each passing page, new revelations occur, and the characters all understandably act as you might expect. Age of X-Man is a mind trip I can’t put down.