Astonishing X-Men # 2, X-Calibre # 2, Gambit and the Externals # 2, Generation Next # 2, Weapon X # 2, Amazing X-Men # 2, Factor X # 2, X-Man # 2.
Picking up on the table setting that was done in X-Men Alpha, and the characters that were established in "the #1's," the plot starts to move forward in the second editions.
Amazing X-Men # 2
Writer - Fabian Nicieza
Pencils - Andy Kubert
Amazing X-Men # 2 picks up right after the events of Amazing X-Men # 1 and Weapon X # 1. Thousands of human refugees have been evacuated via Sentinel, but Apocalypse's group the Brotherhood of the Chaos is around to fight the team. Box (from Alpha Flight in the prime universe) takes over the Sentinels (using his technology power?) and stops the full evacuation. Copycat (Vanessa, another member of the Brotherhood) impersonates Wanda to get in the head of QS.
Here we also meet Abyss, a new character serving as one of the Four Horseman of Apocalypse, attempting to snack on a little boy. We also see that he personally kills a Madri, showing us that he is a bit of a loose cannon.
Banshee finds Abyss and is told that he either needs to bring QS to hit (Abyss wants to kill the son of Magneto) or he'll kill the boy. Quicksilver is able to defeat Abyss and we were led to believe he was killed, but we'll find out in a later issue that wasn't the case.
This story is ok, but Nicieiza might have the weight of plot development interfering with his ability to flesh out the characterization for the individual team members.
Weapon X # 2
Writer - Larry Hama
Pencils - Adam Kubert
Weapon X # 2 also takes place immediately following the escape of the human refugees. Copycat and Box attack, but are quickly beaten down by Wolverine. We do not see these two interact with the X-Men team.
Jean and Logan are re-united, but there is some clear tension between them. The Human Council is planning to bomb Apocalypse and America, killing thousands of innocents. Wolverine supports this attack but Jean is strongly against it.
There is a quick chat between Logan and Mariko, a member of the high council. It's cool that these two are interacting, but there's really no "there" there. Nothing special happens between these two and Mariko could have been replaced by any other human character. The focus of this series is on Jean, but still seems lazy.
As Wolverine is talking to Mariko, the human high council is attacked by Donald Pierce and a full group of Cyborg's (They will be the main antagonist in this series), trying to stop them from attacking Apoc. There is a REALLY badass scene where Wolverine jumps from one blimp to another to stop the Cyborg's and the result is him getting complete burned in the process. We'll see him charred and essentially hairless for the rest of the issue.
After getting char broiled alive, Logan gets a psychic impression of Jean wanting to leave. Even though he should probably spent a few minutes in a Bacta Tank, he pushes to go find her before she takes off.
They have a VERY emotional conversation as Logan holds her neck and threatens to stop her, but she tells him he will have to kill her if he is going to stop her. He obviously can't, and she flies off to stop the bombing. These two will be separated for most of the remaining issues.
Factor X # 2
Writer - John Francis Moore
Pencils - Steve Epting
With Sinister M.I.A., Cyclops is offered the status of Horseman. This does not go over well with his jealous brother Alex and further pushes him to stew and fantasize about one upping his brother.
We check in briefly with Alex's secret girlfriend Scarlett, who is revealed to be secretly working with the Human High Council. However, she does seem genuinely torn for her feelings for Alex and it is heavily implied that she may be pregnant.
Alex attempts to take his anger out on one of the mutant girls from the pens who might have seen how the escape went down the night before (as referenced in FX # 1).
Yep, it's Lorna. And he interrogates her, beats on her, then releases her to Dark Beast for further torture. In my opinion, this is just lazy. Ooooh cool, Alex and Lorna are interacting! But this is all we get? Lorna could have been replaced by any other character and this would have worked. There is none of that "they are drawn together." In fact, if we get that at all, it's with Scarlett, who only showed up in one limited Series (Meltdown).
Scott is watching Lorna's torture and it doesn't sit right with him. At the end of the issue, we see him freeing Lorna, and battle Aurora and Northstar to help her escape. He is officially part of the underground movement, helping to free mutants from the pens.
In a quick note, the mutants in the pens have their powers inhibited by a group of 6 bodyless telepathic brains that work together to suppress the prisoners mutant powers. Creepy! And reminds me of Krang.
Gambit and the Externals # 2
Writer - Fabian Nicieza
Pencils - Tony Daniel
After being teleported by Lila to a Shi'ar planet last issue, they are immediately met by the Imperial Guard. This is a really amazing piece of art and is quite evocative of Dave Cockrum's rendering of the original faceoff with the Imperial Guard (as covered in UXM # 107).
There is an epic battle and it appears that Rictor dies with the Imperial Guard, but we'll later see him join them (since he's the antagonist of this series). The team is eventually saved by Deathbird-led Starjammers (also including Ch'od, Raza, and Hepzibah).
The IG is distracted long enough for Gambit, Deathbird, and Lila to enter the crystal. There they meet Jaff, the protecter of the crystal, who explains that Gambit and the X-Ternals were chosen to come and protect the crystal.
Astonishing X-Men # 2
Writer- Scott Lobdell
Pencils - Joe Madueria
Rogue and some team members are at a "culling" in Chicago, which is when Apocalypse decides to kill a bunch of humans for no great reason. We learn that Sunfire's father was killed by Apocalypse (which seems unnecessary since we learned that all of Japan was destroyed as well) and he goes a little ballistic. Eventually, Rogue needs to steal his powers to calm him down.
You can count on Lobdell not to skip over the character moments. Magneto reflects with Bishop about how he knows he needs to successfully re-set the timeline, but he knows it will cost him his son.
We learn a bunch about how Creed saved Blink as a child and raised her. We see her praying prior to Creed asking her to teleport him directly to Holocaust so he can fight him. Blink cries, knowing it will end in his death, but she does it anyway. Rogue tries to stop him, but Creed (along with Wild Child on a leash) are teleported away.
Generation Next # 2
Writer - Scott Lobdell
Pencils - Chris Bachalo
The team comes together and continues trying to free Illyana. Husk and Vincent directly attack one of the Sugar Man's henchman, eventually trying to impersonate him. That's it!
X-Calibre # 2
Writer - Warren Ellis
Pencils - Roger Cruz
Another series that is struggling to fill 4 issues before reconnecting with the main plot. Nightcrawler is on a sub that took on damage, on his way to Avalon. Callisto (who apparently didn't die during Factor X # 1), shows up with a ship and promises to take on survivors. They are locked down below and Callisto drowns them all (terrible!) so she can rob them. Nightcrawler escapes because he can teleport. Mystique shows up near the end to help.
We also get a check in with the antagonists of this series, the Pale Riders. This group is led by the new character, Damask, Dani Moonstar, and Deadpool. This scene bothers me a bunch. Damask kills Dani for apparently no reason. I love Dani, so I wasn't happy about this. But at least it establishes that Damask is pure evil, right? Wrong! Damask will change her allegience next issue and join Nightcrawler! So why kill my girl Dani!?
X-Man # 2
Writer - Jeph Loeb
Pencils - Steve Skroce
We see the antagonists of this series (Domino, Caliban, and Grizzly) attacking a Russian mutant (clearly Omega Red in a more human form).
During a training exercise, Forge goes too hard on Nate, putting some pressure on their relationship. Essex sees this as an opportunity to try to further recruit him into his way of thinking. The whole group recons a plan, finding thousands of dead human bodies. They get into a fight with a group of Madri and Nate is easily defeated. This greatly concerns Essex as he is putting all his eggs in the Nate basket, hoping he will be able to defeat Apoc for him.
Near the end, Brute (Sunder) discovers Essex and is quickly killed.
My Rating - 7/10
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