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Uncanny X-Men #523

Posted: Friday, April 9, 2010
By: Robert Tacopina

Matt Fraction
Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson (i), Justin Ponsor (c)
Marvel Comics
“Second Coming” (part 2)

Plot: “The Second Coming” continues with the X-Men in search of Cable & Hope.

Comments: This second installation of “The Second Coming” mega-crossover picks up immediately after the conclusion of last weeks issue without missing a beat. In all actuality this reads like it could have been a part of the opening salvo which is how totally in sync writer Matt Fraction is with chapter one’s Kyle & Yost. While this issue was slowed down a tad from the carnage we borne witness to last week it was still an amazing read.

One of the things that immediately threw me off balance was the opening scene which depicts Cable & Hope holed up in a supermarket. However, I was curious as to just why it appeared that not only had the two time travelers killed some sort of police force members but also to the fact that they seemingly have hostages tied up in the middle of the chaos. In all my years of reading X-Men and their related titles I can not recall seeing Nathan operate in such a manner as it is totally out of character. Yes, the man is a soldier and has trained his entire life for occurrences such as the one that he and Hope are in but the man is not a cold blooded killer. Thankfully, that was my only problem with an otherwise brilliant issue.

The interaction between the X-Men was great with Scott “Cyclops” Summers leading the way. Cyke is shown as the strategic mastermind that he is and, understanding the bigger goal, makes the hard decisions that must be made despite the reactions that may result. Such is the case when Nightcrawler learns about the black-ops X-Force team and questions Scott as to whether or not he sanctioned Wolverine and X-Force to go about as they have. Scott is perfectly characterized within these pages as he steps up to the plate by not only confirming Kurt’s suspicions but by also willing his team to deal with the problem at hand and file their grievances afterward. Fraction’s handling of Wolverine was spot-on as Logan shines best when he is used in the capacity of being a soldier who does what needs to be done. There is a poignant moment where Wolvie “snikts” an adversary without emotion leaving a stunned Nightcrawler left momentarily speechless. While the New Mutants, minus Magik, spring into action to close out the issue as the dramatic cliffhanger to next weeks issue which takes place in the New Mutants title.

Matt Fraction is on top of his game here as he masterfully pens his first chapter in mesmerizing fashion. While I mentioned this was a mite slower than last issue what it gives in action it makes up for in the characterization department. The way that Hope was lost in the thoughts of some cosmetic supplies at the store was a nice touch as far as humanizing the character goes. This is after all a young woman who was brought up in the most deplorable of conditions being trained as a soldier and running for her life. It was nice to show her softer side for a change. I do fear for the future of Nightcrawler as there seems to be an awful amount of foreshadowing going on here. As a result I tend to think that he may be one of the casualties that will happen before the crossover is over.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful art courtesy of Terry and Rachel Dodson with colors by Justin Ponsor. These three artists have created beautiful imagery that compliment the author by not only fleshing out the words on the page but also breathing life into them by instilling detailed pencils and vibrant colors.

Final Thoughts: An excellent issue to what appears to be a fantastic X-Men event. If these first two issues are any indication and the rest of the writers follow the precedent set by Kyle, Yost, and Fraction then Second Coming will be one heck of a ride!



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