The first issue of Extraordinary X-Men was a lot better than I expected. Although a bit sparse in the story department, #1 was a strong introduction for new fans and had great characterization to boot.
The second issue is here with the promise that the “fate of mutantkind will be decided.” Sounds intriguing; is it good?
Extraordinary X-Men #2 (Marvel Comics)
The X-Men continue their recruiting process, with the Rasputins trying to find Nightcrawler and Storm and Iceman trying to convince Old Man Logan to join the fold. Of course, problems crop up for both pairs…
And speaking of difficulties, the Jean Grey of the past is about to strike out in love and at keeping a secret identity.
With the apparent death of Cyclops and the growing hatred for the mutants, Storm and Iceman want Logan to come with them and be a part of the X-Men. They need everyone together again during these tough times and considering how different Logan is now, the two are more than curious to know what happened to him. However, Logan refuses to come with them, fearing he could end up killing them as he did in his Old Man Logan timeline.
Jean Grey is going on her first date with a guy from school, when suddenly she psychically hears someone calling out for help. She tracks the voice and sees what appears to be a mutant being attacked by three guys in an alleyway. She uses her powers to scare them off, but she outs herself to her date (who is a bigot) and when she tries to lend a hand to the person she protected, the guy says he is an inhuman and runs off in fear of her and the “dread” mutant pox.
Magik and Colossus arrive at Nightcrawler’s apartment, but only find his severed tail. Worried, they seek help from Forge, who DNA tracks their friend to his last location in a sewer system. There, the siblings are ambushed by a bunch of goons, who they make quick work of. However, the goon squad happens to work for Mr. Sinister, who appears and wipes the floor with the two.
Due to Magik getting knocked the hell out in that fight, she cannot mentally keep up the defenses surrounding the X-Men’s current location. As such, the barriers fall and it’s revealed that the school and everyone have been hiding out in Limbo. The issue then ends with the team under siege by a bunch of demons.
Is Extraordinary X-Men #2 trying to have the most miserable main characters in a Marvel series? Because that’s what it feels like. I thought All-New Hawkeye and Astonishing Ant-Man were tragic in the sense that the stories revolved around the protagonists being screw-ups where life constantly seemed to crap all over them, but this title is going above and beyond the call of duty with this.
While there are brief sprinkles of humor and lightheartedness, Extraordinary X-Men thus far lacks joy, happiness, hope, or even excitement besides the brief bits of fighting. Add in the fact that there’s still a lot of setup going on story-wise and not much progression and the title just feels somewhat lacking overall.
That’s not to say the ball is dropped in the writing department; Jeff Lemire still does a fantastic job bringing the characters to life (everyone still feels well-characterized and Jean Grey as grown a lot since All-New X-Men), his pacing and story mechanics are all tight, and the dialogue is on point for the most part. Humberto Ramos’ artwork is still iffy (for instance, there is a weird emphasis at one point on making a corpse look sexy), but it looks solid in the fight scenes a lot of the time. The tone isn’t pleasant and longtime fans are probably not going to like what Marvel is currently doing to their favorite characters, but the writing and character work is still going strong regardless.
Most Memorable Moment:
Hey now! Not all robots are mutant killing machines! Don’t be such a robo-phobe Logan.