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X-Men The End: Book One: Dreamers and Demons #2

Posted: Thursday, August 19, 2004
By: Shawn Hill



“Omens and Portents”

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Sean Chen (p), Sandu Florea (i)

Publisher: Marvel

Plot:
Cyclops, freaked out by Jean’s awakening, visits his scattered troops to try and reunite them. Very slowly, and mostly without success.

Not so interesting:
After the promise of the first issue, this installment takes completely the wrong tack. Your sophomore issue is not where you want to take a breather in your new series, but this month finds us playing out one scene from last issue for 22 pages. Scott contacts everyone who sensed Jean’s rebirth in tedious order, but we learn little more about them in pages than we gleaned in a few panels already.

This is a big anticlimax after the action-oriented tale told in #1. In this issue nothing AT ALL happens. Scott talks to a bunch of people who already know what they’re going to say, as does he, and going through the motions is just not exciting to read. There’s one decent action sequence, where Remy and Rogue break into an underground fortress. We meet a few new players, such as a surprisingly docile Vargas, various children, but that fun is undone by some unwelcome but all-too familiar Claremont favorites as the villains.
Strangely, it’s not his usual flaws that mar this issue. There’s no excess of verbiage, even some lovely sequences unfolding with little to no verbiage at all. The problem this time isn’t style, but pacing. It’s going to be a long haul if we get many more issues like this.

Interesting:
Sean Chen continues to shine, with Florea’s precise inks recalling the olden days of Terry Austin. This is one nice-looking book, with a suitably consistent overall sci-fi design. CC seems to have found an ideal collaborator, which always improves his work.

Disappointing:
If you’re going to give a full issue over to exposition, shouldn’t you wind up less confused rather than more by the end? I think we’re meant to see Deathbird as the new Shi’ar empress in the final pages, but she looks an awful lot like the Morrison/Kordey Lilandra to me. And who’s that purple guy? If the Shi’Ar chancellor is a bad sort, shouldn’t he have a facial expression or some other distinct mark of character to let us know what he’s doing? This issue is a misfire. Let’s hope it’s no harbinger of things to come.



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