This is how the X-Men are supposed to be written! I sung praises for the first issue last time out and I am absolutely going to do it again for the second installment. "First To Last" has thus far been uncannily fantastic. The stakes feel high and the danger hasn't been this seemingly omnipotent in quite some time. Yet perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this storyline to date has been the element of mystery that has managed to elude the reader regarding the villainous (or are they) Evolutionaries and just what transpired in the past to propel us to this moment in X-History.
Let's give the Evolutionaries some credit here because, despite being blatantly one-sided in their thought process, they are intelligent enough to recognize the inherent flaws in Charles Xavier's dream of mutant/human peace, which is that there will never be true peace. It is only natural to fear and despise those who would be on the cusp of sealing your doom and writer Christopher Yost displays it perfectly as he educates us on the amount of hate that humanity has harbored for mutants. Though the X-Men have tried diligently to assure a peaceful coexistence it has always come back to bite them in the ass.
As Cyclops faces down the ominous threat that these mysterious beings represent he proves without a doubt why he is the only mutant capable of leading mutants. The man is just cool, calm, collected, and calculating. His mutant ability may be his optic blasts but his tactical mind is nothing to slouch at. And it is these types of character moments that enhance Yost's ability to infuse the story with a semblance of sentience. You feel that every movement made on the battlefield will pose a significant risk for all the players involved.
Plus, there are plenty of OMG moments and humor to be found in the context of the story to offset all the seriousness at the heart of the story. The Eternals' appearance at the beginning of the issue places more questions on an already riddle-filled table. What key will they play in this, if any? When past-Beast breaks the helmet of one of the Evolutionaries the reveal behind the mask is a shock. What halted the Evolutionaries in their initial confrontation with mutant kind? What role did and will Magneto play in all of this? There are just tons of little subplots sprinkled throughout the overall canvas of the storyline, which makes the entire package that more enticing.
The art team does a valiant job of relating all of these events to the reader. Paco Medina and Dalibor Talajic once again prove their mettle and their penchant for action oriented comic art. The tandem coloring team of Marte Gracia and Wil Quintana each summon an impressive pallet of colors that tend to serve as an adhesive to the past and the present. Yet once again the real star is Chris Yost who aptly proves that he is an uber-badass in X-Men lore. Why oh why can't you please grace us with an indefinite run on an X-Title, you tease?!
X-Men #12 is a balls to the wall roller coaster ride full of twists and turns that leaves you craving more!
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