Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Sunny Gho, VC’s Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller
Release Date: November 13th, 2019
When an island full of unspeakable horrors appears on the horizon, the X-Men have their work cut out for themselves keeping Krakoa safe in this week’s all-new X-MEN #2 by Jonathan Hickman. Let’s jump into the issue to see how the assassination of Charles Xavier (after X-FORCE #1) affects the team and the sense of safety on the island moving forward.
Where X-MEN #1 attempted to give a rundown of Scott’s team, the overall makeup of the island, and introduce the idea that humanity isn’t down and out just yet, Jonathan Hickman uses this issue to focus more on a small, quick, high-paced story to motivate readers for what’s in store with the book ahead as well as layout something ingenious arising behind the scenes on the island. Hickman plays this week’s issue fast and loose while relying heavily on action and humorous family dynamics, as well as dialogue, between the Summers family to be the foundational point of the story. When the issue ends, readers will leave the comic with more questions about the future of the Dawn of X, as well as this particular series at large, and feel like $&@$ just got real!
What this reviewer loved the most is that these Dawn of X titles are completely intertwined together. Hickman makes reference to Xavier’s death in X-FORCE #1, as well as Doug Ramsey/ Cypher, leaving off-world with the Starjammers in NEW MUTANTS #1. Technically, you don’t have to read those issues to figure out X-MEN. However, for those readers taking the deep dive, it’s refreshing to see continuity jive between issues in a vitalizing order as well. This element of the issue was truly extraordinary and strengthened the importance of Cypher even more to the core of this series moving ahead. Cypher very well may be more important than Charles Xavier himself and possibly more important to mutantkind as the story develops.
Now, as much fun and exciting as this issue was, Hickman’s humorous tone did have a negative impact on a few sections of the comic. There is an exchange between Kid Cable and this “new individual” that seemed unnecessary and out of place. Its purpose was mainly for comedic relief however it didn’t fit with the personality of the characters involved and was immediately shrugged off as insignificant and unimportant. This action was so idiotic and extreme by Kid Cable that it should have resulted in an all-out war. Realistically, this plot point made no sense within the story and was only involved for humor, which isn’t why this reader ultimately reads an X-MEN title in the first place. This critic is not a huge Cable or Prestige fan BUT this family banter seemed out of place and completely ineffective to the wealth of the story.
Finally, Hickman inaugurates an extremely frightening and intriguing character into the X-Men Landscape while connecting this ”new character” to someone on Krakoa that could result in some major conflict as the story continues to unfold. Charles, Moira, and Magneto should be extremely careful. Sometimes the best-laid plans with the best intentions simply don’t work out due to who you get in bed with. If this issue is any indication, as Charles’ plan to help all of mutantkind continues to evolve, readers will eventually see some familiar faces show their true colors again.
Speaking of colors, Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan art are totally on point. Yu and Alanguilan’s detailed style and panel progressions completely captivated this reviewer. The issue was incredibly easy to follow with outstandingly dynamic action sequences bringing each page to life. Yu and Alanguilan, mixed with Sunny Gho colors, created an authentically crisp and vivid comic that was brilliantly stimulating for this critic and frankly will mesmerize X-Men and comic fans alike. Together with the Head of X (Hickman), this team will continue to be a force to reckon with as the series unfolds. Readers can count on that!
Hickman follows up a flat first installment with an excitingly gripping and explosive issue that was wildly entertaining and fun for all comic lovers. The Head of X spends the issue connecting multiple plot threads across X-titles and continues to build the connective tissue between Krakoa, the mutants, and humanity while unearthing a few deeper roots that may blossom into something a bit more concerning in the future. While many of the humorous aspects of the comic fell flat for this reader, the issue was still heads and shoulders above last month’s tale. Pick this week’s installment up and add this series to your pull list. If not because of the stunning visual display or the overly entertaining script, pick this issue up because it appears as though this will be the main book that everyone will need to buy to stay up to date on their X-Men.