Review: X-Men Red #2

Cover Rank: 7/10 A solid cover if only due to the great art work. Simple is presentation, Nightcrawler perched ready for inevitable battle. But what grabs you is the weathered look they have given Nightcrawler on the cover despite the character within the book appearing much younger.. Old Man Logan, Old Man Hawkeye, Old Man Nightcrawler anyone? The cover gets an extra point for the simple fact that Nightcrawler has always been my favorite X-Man.

Best Variant Issue: 5/10 Charest Headshot Variant. There’s not much to see in the variants, and the best might be the most basic. A headshot of Nightcrawler, but more in the form of how he is presented in the comic and not the weatherd older man. Meh.

What I Like: There is so much to like in this issue despite it being more dialog than action. There’s no question we will receive our share of no holds barred throw down in the coming issues. It’s X-Men people, Matrix style fighting is just around the corner. Fow now, Marvel is laying the groundwork starting with the basics, which has always been X-Men vs Society and there is no doubt that is where Marvel wants to get back into exploring on a grand scale after only two issues. Jean’s plan of peace between Mutants and Humans is all but out the window with the killing of a U.N. Ambassador. So where do we go from here? Wakanda of course! The nation ruled by the Black Panther is the hot ticket at the moment, so why not cash in and maybe bring some readers to the comic side of things by taking from the movie that’s taken over the globe. That and Wakanda is a pretty great place to hide out when your wanted for killing a public official.

While on Wakanda we get some pretty great comic relief from Gabby, or Honey Badger, which is good. The book takes on a less darker tone with her one liners, and it also goes briefly into some controversial areas during the mission to find a mutant who can help them. Jean says she will guide them through a building this mutant is being held in and she will do this by being inside their minds of course. Gabby makes the comment, and not kidding around, that she would appreciate if Jean didn’t ask her about the thoughts she has had about another female she sees on the bus as she has yet to explore them. It’s brief, but the fact the writers bring it into the story shows the progression of comics in today’s world.

In addition to the possible sexual desires of Gabby, there is a panel where two media pundits are arguing about the events that took place in issue #1 with Jean being blamed for the assassination. The argument is presented like we are watching it on television so at the bottom of the screen is what is on the bottom of all news channels in a news ticker. The ticker changes with each panel, with one of them reading “Bill proposing enhanced screening of mutants entering the country”. The jab might be subtle, but we can assume this is a reference to the current situation in Washington. It’s nice to see at least one comic enter the world of political and social subjects. It might not be as direct a message as it was back in the 50’s, but its a message.

What I didn’t like: I gave praise earlier to bringing the X-Men to Wakanda in an attempt to get casual readers who are flying on the Black Panther plane to take notice and maybe bring in some readers. However, it’s difficult to do that when you don’t include the Black Panther in the issue at all. It’s an X-Men series so I’m not expecting an issue stuffed with Black Panther being the focus, but it would have been cool to see him in a panel or two.

Best Moment: Like I said before, there is not a lot of action within issue #2 and even if there were I still think the best moment would have gone to Jean mind controlling the man who is holding the mutant they are looking for who could help them. We’ve missed Jean for so long, and to see her use her mind control powers again not only this time, but at the end of the issue as well on a mob of people storming the building that is housing this mutant was a glimpse into what is to come.

Ending: 9/10. That mob becomes too much for Jean to bear, and as the X-Men exit the building with the mutant they came to rescue in tow, a villain of all villains has been summoned. I’ll leave that to the reader to find out what it is.

What I’m Looking Forward To: Like any great comic, there are questions to be answered, and we get a slew of them here. First is how will the X-Men handle the situation that is presented to them at the very end of issue #2. It’s a battle they would not have been able to win without Jean, but now that she is back do they stay and fight?

What does this mutant they came to rescue, who goes by the name Trinary, mean for them in the long term? She has telepathic abilities of her own and has shared with them her ability in a rather cool way (which was another statement on current events by the way), so what is her value if they already have the ultimate telepath in Jean?

Finally, on Wakanda we are introduced to a native named Nezhno Abidemi. He doesn’t speak a word because he is in constant meditation, and for a good reason. He is one of the most powerful mutants alive. Using his abilities causes him great pain, the more power he uses the more pain he experiences. Just how powerful is he? Jean shares that Hank McCoy claims he can go toe to toe with Hulk. Let’s get him involved more, huh?

Overall Ranking: 9/10

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