The X-Books Feature Good Characterization… When They Feel Like It [X-ual Healing 11-27-19]

Following up on our article earlier today catching up with our X-Men recaps, here's the second edition of X-ual Healing this Monday, covering New Mutants #2, Fallen Angels #2, and X-Force #2.

Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but thanks to a corporate merger and a line-wide relaunch, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.

What happened in New Mutants #2?

[X-ual Healing 11-27-19]

(W) Jonathan Hickman (A/CA) Rod Reis
The classic New Mutants (Sunspot, Wolfsbane, Mirage, Karma, Magik, and Cypher) get together with a few new friends (Chamber, Mondo) to seek out their missing member and share the good news… a mission that takes them into space alongside the Starjammers!
Rated T+
In Shops: Nov 27, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The New Mutants are on trial, and it's not going well because Bobby's space lawyer kinda sucks (apparently he's from a Rocket Raccoon comic, which explains that). They're found guilty, but Cannonball and his wife, Smasher of the Imperial Guard, show up to take them into custody. Sunspot is grumpy that Sam had to save him and also that Sam doesn't appear to be falling apart without Bobby, so Smasher punches Bobby in the face to snap him out of his funk and they head off, with Magik a little jealous she didn't get to punch him.

As the reunited group heads to Chandilar, they're interrupted by a request from Shi'ar Majestor Gladiator, who has a special (but as-yet-unnamed) mission for them. The New Mutants play space cards and Dani cheats to win. Afterward, Sam teases Bobby about Doug getting a spot on the Quiet Council when Bobby didn't get one. Smasher arrives and tells the team they're all pardoned but also drafted into imperial service with a new mission. To explain the mission, we cut back to Chandilar, where Gladiator gives up his throne for Xandra, the child of Xavier and Lillandra from the Mr. and Mrs. X series, because the empire is at war and needs a Nermani to lead, and for Gladiator to take control of the Imperial Guard again. To get her ready to rule, they need Deathbird, and that's who the New Mutants have been sent to pick up. Bobby thinks she's hot.

Was it any good?

This issue was pretty much all character work, a departure from HoXPoX which had very little character work and often featured characters behaving unlike themselves to move the story along. Even New Mutants #1 suffered from this, with the Starjammers suddenly willing to abandon their longtime allies to capture and potential death. Hickman has been on record as loving Sam and Bobby, so it's no surprise these characters are treated especially well. It's good to see a storyline from a recent pre-HoXPoX X-book carry through to the Dawn of X in Xandra's ascension to the throne. This is easily my favorite Hickman-driven X-Men issue so far.

What happened in Fallen Angels #2?

[X-ual Healing 11-27-19]

(W) Bryan Edward Hill (A) Szymon Kudranski (CA) Ashley Witter
Psylocke finds herself in this new world of Mutantkind unsure of her place in it… but when a face from her past returns only to be killed, she seeks help from others who feel similar to get vengeance. Cable and X-23 join Kwannon for a personal mission that could jeopardize all Mutantkind!
Rated T+
In Shops: Nov 27, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The issue starts with a flashback to Psylocke (then known as Kwannon) killing a man who looked to escape from the Hand and its associated criminal enterprises after he asked her to help him escape. In the present on Krakoa, X-23 asks Psylocke to teach her how to control her rage. Psylocke then meets with Cable, who has found an Overclock cartel town where the people are being terrorized. Psylocke refuses to help though because they can only leave the island for the most important jobs, like killing Apoth, so Cable says he'll go alone. Dazzler shows up and asks Psylocke if she needs a friend.

After an infographic page waxing poetic about The Hand, we get another flashback, this time to Japan, as Kwannon saves a doctor, apparently the wife of the man she killed in the earlier flashback. She read his mind and learned he was trying to protect her and her unborn child. Kwannon helps her escape and gives her some money, but reveals The Hand found her and tortured and killed her and her baby. We get more flashes of Kwannon's childhood indoctrination as well.

Psylocke decides to help Cable, so she asks Mister Sinister to help her leave the island undetected again, which he agrees to after she explains why she's into butterfly symbolism. She and X-23 meet up with Cable. She plans to teach them what she knows about violence, and maybe they can teach her how to be "good." They head to Brazil to bust up the Overclock cartel and free the townspeople of Sao Mateus.  They're attacked by a giant robotic squid or something.

Was it any good?

The story here was easier to make sense of than the first issue, with the flashbacks providing some context for understanding Psylocke's motivations and thus serving a purpose beyond looking cool and mysterious. I'm still not sold on the characterization of X-23 here though. Cable, I can buy being less experienced since he's a younger version of himself, but X-23 has evolved a lot in her solo books All-New Wolverine and X-23, and she's a competent and experienced hero at this point. Why does she need guidance from Psylocke on controlling her rage?

What happened in X-Force #2?

[X-ual Healing 11-27-19]

(W) Ben Percy (A) Joshua Cassara (CA) Dustin Weaver
X-Force is the CIA of the mutant world-one half intelligence branch, one half special ops. Beast, Jean Grey and Sage on one side, Wolverine, Kid Omega and Domino on the other. In a perfect world, there would be no need for an X-Force. We're not there…yet.
Rated T+
In Shops: Nov 27, 2019
SRP: $3.99

So Professor X is dead, but maybe it's not so bad. Magneto has a plan to bring him back, but it requires Beast get one of the backup Cerebros online and Jean Grey be able to use it to restore Xavier's consciousness. Magneto makes himself a sword out of the shattered remnants of the Cerebro helmet Xavier was wearing when he was shot. An infographic page shows us the report from X-Force's intelligence division about the assassination, which also fills in some blanks from the last issue. Apparently Xavier ingested a tracking device when he drank a glass of champagne last issue, which allowed the assassins, who appear to be related to the Reavers in some way, to find Krakoa and kill him.

Black Tom, Sage, Dr. Cecilia Reyes, Wolverine, and Healer investigate the captured assassin and the dead ones. They find Domino's skin grafted to their bodies, which is how the assassins were able to infiltrate the island. Wolverine decides to go hunting. He heads to the airport where the assassins' plane took off from, only to find that Kid Omega was there first and already got them all the info they need. They head to a warehouse outside of Seoul where they discover tubes in which augmented humans are being grown. Back on Krakoa, Sage and Jean Grey dissect the bodies, showing that almost every one of their body parts is some kind of weapon (for example, instead of cartilage in their ears, they have spooled wire for strangling). Jean tries to get a psychic read, but she can only see a blurry image featuring all the masks we saw in the meeting where Domino was captured in the first issue. Another X-Force intelligence report reveals that Domino was apparently lured to that meeting by a honeypot target named Phineas Hook.

Back at the warehouse, the half-completed assassins start to come alive and attack, but Kid Omega's powers aren't working because of some kind of dampening technology. While Wolverine slices up assassins, Kid Omega heads to another room and discovers Domino in a tube, not looking in good shape with a bunch of skin missing.

Was it any good?

This issue was a little light on action, mostly dealing out x-position on the events of the previous issue. But it accomplished that with a Wolverine and Kid Omega buddy cop adventure, which entertained me. Even better, this issue was chock full of material supporting my Wolverine two-dicks theory, which I wrote about here, and for that alone, I deeply appreciate it.

Wolverine's Weiner X-Pick of the Week

Both New Mutants and Fallen Angels were improvements on previous issues, but only X-Force delved deep into the Wolverine two-dicks theory, so I would be remiss in not awarding it the Wolverine's Weiner X-Pick of the Week award. Congratulations to the creative team.

Past winners:

Other X-Stuff

If you've been following along, I've been advocating for a theory, created back in 2013, that Wolverine has two dicks, one for f**king and one for making love. It makes people very mad for some reason, which of course just makes it funnier for those of you with the discerning taste to appreciate such things. You can read the theory explained in full here, and followed up on here. And I have got a doozy of a follow-up planned for the near future. Gonna blow the lid right off this thing.

Next week, we've got X-Men #3, Excalibur #3, and Marauders #3.

Read more X-ual Healing here:

About Jude Terror

A prophecy says that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero will come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events.

Scourge of Rich Johnston, maker of puns, and seeker of the Snyder Cut, Jude Terror, sadly, is not the hero comics needs right now... but he's the one the industry deserves.

twitter   envelope   globe