Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Olivier Coipel (p), Tim Townsend (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: The Marvel Universe has undergone a drastic change, and we're introduced to a number of established heroes in their new lives: Steve Rogers is an elderly man, Scott Summers is happily married to Emma, Warbird is a beloved hero, Kitty Pryde is a teacher, Luke Cage is a cool, collected crime boss, while Hank Pym and Hank McCoy are employed by Tony Stark. However, one character looks to be deeply troubled by memories of the real Marvel Universe.
Comments: The online reaction to this big event seems to be overly hostile, and while I understand the desire to simply dismiss this story as a "what if" adventure that was thrown together in response to DC's big summer event, I'm not quite sure I understand the mentality of the reader who takes personal offence at a comic company's effort to make money, as it's not like you're being forced to buy the book. When I first heard the premise of this summer event, I was a little disappointed as it did read a bit like yet another alternate reality adventure, where a single character comes to realize that the world around him wasn't right. As such, the story would be a desperate fight to set the world right. However, Brian Michael Bendis has put a new spin on this tired plot device in that this altered reality isn't a nightmarish hell hole, but rather most of the primary players look to be living a better life than they had in the real Marvel Universe. What exactly would motivate a hero to abandon a perfect life? While this issue makes it clear that there is an underlying tension involving mutants and humans, even this problem offers up an interesting problem, as one has to imagine it'll be tough to rally the troops when the alternate reality that you're offering up has them hated, feared and persecuted by the public that adores them in this reality. I've also seen early online reviews of this issue that complain that nothing happens in this issue. But from a storytelling standpoint, it makes sense that the writing would introduce the primary players and give us a look at the lives that these characters were being asked to give up, before the story is set into motion. So I have no problem with this issue's lack of forward momentum. Plus some of the new lives that Brian Michael Bendis has come up with are really quite engaging, from Warbird's new role as the beloved heroine, to the debate between Hank Pym and Hank McCoy about attempting to isolate the mutant gene.
I'm not quite sold on the cover to this issue. While I recognize that it's trying to sell that idea that Logan is not part of this bright and shiny new world, I can't help but feel this idea could have been presented in a more visually dramatic manner. Still, the interior art does a lovely job when it comes to selling the readers this new world (from the quiet reveal of the opening pages, to the big splashy visual that closes the issue) and serves to give readers a good look at the sheer scope of the task that Wolverine is faced with. There's also a solid bit of action in the middle of the issue, that presents Warbird's new role with a visually exciting bit of action. There's also a number of little touches that add to the issue, from the plaque in front of the memorial that Remy slammed into, to the establishing shot of the students that make up Kitty's class. The issue also offers up a great Colossus moment in an amazing looking sequence. Wolverine's dream sequence also made a powerful intrusion into this new world, which I'm guessing is exactly what it was supposed to do.
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