A visit to the comic shop this week resulted in a surprise item: a free preview of the latest X-Men event, Second Coming. Like all of the schwag that Marvel gives out to promote a new book, it featured a 4-page preview along with some sketches, a bit of text regarding the history surrounding the event and about a billion advertisements for collected editions of recommended reading. Which is cool – we like that kind of stuff and you’ll never hear us complain about something that we got for free.
But you will hear us complain about the X-Men. We’ve written at length about being that breed of old fogey who sits on their front porch wearing black socks and sandals, shaking an angry fist at those damn kids who are on our lawn again and ranting about how cool the X-Men used to be. Yeah, that’s us. Sorry, but we just can’t not complain. It’s in our nature… it’s like our Kryptonite. Considering that it’s been quite a while since Comicscape was devoted to the glory days of Chris Claremont and the infernal wreck that the book has become, we figured this new event would be a good opportunity to whine. Yes, we know we’re whining… we can admit it and it won’t stop us from doing it. Won’t even slow us down, baby. Whooo!
But we’re going to change it up a bit this time. Using the taglines from this event as a guideline, we’ll do a blow-by-blow account of just how redundant everything in the X-Verse has become these days and offer it up as proof that we are right and the millions of people who read the books and love them are wrong. And if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll even learn something.
Apparently the title refers to Hope Summers, the first mutant born since Scarlet Witch declared that there would be no more mutants on earth and the mutant population went from 16 million worthless characters to 198 fairly sweet ones. Obviously Wolverine wasn’t going to lose his powers in that purge, but thankfully Jubilee did. Hope was only born a few years ago, but like so many characters on so many soap operas, she “went away to camp” and came back a whole lot older. According to the text in the back of the free promo book, there’s a lot of speculation that the Phoenix Force currently resides in Hope.
And we hope to God that this is what the title refers to. Because if it refers to Jean Grey coming back from the dead again – thanks but no thanks. Coming back from the dead once is cool. Coming back from the dead twice? Not so cool. It’s like that kid in the back of the classroom who gets a laugh out of a stupid joke so he just repeats it over and over again ad nauseam even though it wasn’t really that funny the first time around. Please Marvel, don’t mess with a good thing twice. Jean is better off dead… just let her stay that way.
The third possibility is that the title doesn’t refer to Jean’s return or a renewed hope for mutantkind. Bucky came back from the dead. So did Jason Todd. Maybe the long-dead Thunderbird (who is sort of like the X-Men’s Bucky in that he is the dead guy who will always remain dead) will be making his return and with him will come… naaaaah! There’s no way they’d do that! Would they?
Okay, we’ve kind of already covered this one. Somebody’s coming back from the dead. But then, doesn’t that apply to nearly all of the X-Men? Haven’t they all died and come back at some point? It’s kind of a prerequisite for being on the team, isn’t it? Don’t the X-Men always say “We got better”?
Now let’s see, in the X-Men’s history we’ve seen the deaths of Thunderbird, Professor X, Magneto, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Psylocke, Colossus, Warlock, Cypher, Banshee… the list goes on and on. Hell, at one point, the entire team died only to be reborn in the Siege Perilous. Some of the deaths we’ve mentioned were faked and some were honest-to-goodness six feet under deaths, but the bottom line is that if you’re an X-Man, you’re probably going to die. Don’t worry though: you’re probably going to come back too. So you’ve got that going for you.
Since the early days of the team, the X-Men have had two traditional leaders: Professor X and Cyclops. But over the years we’ve seen Storm assume leadership as well as Magneto. And though Scott Summers is currently in charge of the team, we all know that behind every good man is a good woman so it’s not really that far fetched to call Emma Frost something of a co-leader.
Wolverine leads X-Force. Cannonball was upgraded to X-Man status and currently leads the reformed New Mutants. Nightcrawler led Excalibur, Banshee led the X-Corps, Rogue and Gambit have acted as field leader of the X-Men for a time, Forge and Havok have both led X-Factor … it seems that leading the X-Men is another requirement for membership. So if you’re an X-Man and you think you’ve got some bright ideas about the direction of the team: don’t worry, your time will come eventually, maybe even with this crossover! Keep your fingers crossed, Deadpool! There are enough X-Teams that sooner or later everyone will have their own to lead.
Blah, blah, blah… isn’t sacrifice what the X-Men are all about? This is nothing new either. If you’re not willing to sacrifice, you’re not ready to be an X-Man, kiddo.
Magneto, Juggernaut, Banshee, Changeling, Rogue, the White Queen, Danger, Mystique, Sabretooth. Are there any X-Men villains who haven’t served on the team? At this point, we wouldn’t be surprised if Apocalypse joined the team during this event. Hey, isn’t he dead? Maybe he can rise and become the new leader!
They say that those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it, which tells us that the current creative team on the X-Books have never read an issue in their life. Or at least the guys who come up with the taglines to promote these events haven’t. According to what we’ve been seeing in these advertisements, Second Coming simply revisits the same concepts that have been going on since the first issue of X-Men came out back in 1963. What kind of event is that?
Here’s your chance to sound off, X-Fans… you’ve got a comments section, use it! Marvel is doing a terrible job convincing us that this event is worth buying but we bet that you can do better. Somebody’s gotta be buying these books, right? Tell us why we should be!