Following what I believe was an X-cellent debut issue (a perfect 10!), could writer Cullen Bunn and artist Jorge Molina continue the momentum with X-Men: Blue #2? Yes! The answer is yes. This book put me in such a good mood, I’m not going to make you wait until the end of this review to get the answer you seek: the second issue’s even better than the first!
But, you know, do read the rest of this review. I may be biased, but it’s pretty good, in my humble opinion…
By now, you’re familiar with the original X-Men’s new status quo–Professor X is out as their mentor, and Magneto is in. While we’ve seen a variation of this before (when Magneto became the New Mutants’ headmaster), the Marvel Universe has changed quite a bit since those days. In addition, Bunn is smart to build off the fact that in the time period Jean, Scott and the rest of the gang come from, Magneto is still very much their enemy.
“You’re the first mutant who ever tried to kill me … to kill my friends,” Jean tells Magneto in X-Men: Blue #2’s opening scene.
It’s this honest truth that frames the series so well. There’s just so much to work with here, and Bunn doesn’t pass up the opportunity to tell a truly compelling story that I’d have no problem reading for–hopefully–a very long run.
While the previous issue lulled readers into a sense of safety (a classic, back-to-basics X-Men tale, yay!), this chapter ratchets up the tension. You’ve got Scott, Hank, Warren and Bobby, choosing to put their faith in Jean, their new leader, who herself has chosen to follow Magneto. Then you’ve got the master of magnetism himself, who has come to the realization that he can’t change the world alone. His tactics no longer work. And more than anything, he doesn’t want to see the mutant race blow what could be its final chance at survival.
All that’s not even taking into account the team dynamics. From challenges Jean faces as a first-time leader (Hank and Bobby blowing off practice), to Jean and Scott being, well, Jean and Scott, and the growing tension between Scott and Hank–it’s all just so good! It’s also nice to see Magneto has someone to talk to in his robot butler Ferris (Bunn loves dusting off obscure characters from X-Men lore).
Helping bring Bunn’s stellar script to life is Molina. I’ll be honest, about two pages into X-Men: Blue #2, I had to go back to the credits page to see if the artist was in fact Molina. In X-Men: Blue #1, the pencils had a sunnier, more cartoony feel. This issue, everything gets a little moodier. That’s by no means a bad thing; I like my X-books to be a little more on the complex side, for sure. But it’s definitely nice to see Molina can adjust his style, from the fun superheroics of the first issue to the more emotionally intense conversations that dot the series’ second chapter.
And like any good comic book, X-Men: Blue #2 introduces plenty of new mysteries (those new Sentinels and that last-page reveal that will make you question everything you thought you knew). If you’ve followed my previous X-Men series reviews, you’ll know I was skeptical of Marvel’s plans for ResurrXion. To any who shared my concerns, I can confidently say that X-Men: Blue is quickly establishing itself as the new flagship X-book.
Oh, and to fans of Bunn’s writing–we’re going to look back on this run as his definitive X-work. Don’t believe me? Get Beast to take you into the future and see for yourself.
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