Dawn of X continues to roll on, and Marvel is continuing to put out these honestly awesome collections. Now, I’m also reading every dang issue of Dawn of X as they come out every week, but I’m still able to appreciate these trades — it’s much, much easier to read these than to try and alternate every issue between the trades for individual series, or worse, on Marvel Unlimited. These Dawn of X collections are a really smart way to collect this era, where the connectivity of the titles is a selling point rather than an additional bonus. Obviously, the quality of these collections rests mostly on the quality of the individual stories they collect, so let’s dive into that.
This issue is a lot of fun. Cyclops and his kids have to figure out what’s up with a new island that’s appeared and is rapidly approaching Krakoa, and just spend time bonding as a family during their adventure. While Leinil Francis Yu’s art is not really a great fit for the more lighthearted story, it does allow for some really cool action scenes. The man can draw the hell out of some explosions. Hickman’s voices for the Summers family is a bit weird, as they’re acting on the more idyllic side, but it does a good job showing how the events of House of X have really let everyone relax — even the X-Men’s most uptight leader.
I was not really a fan of this issue — the pacing feels less tight compared to X-Men, which felt more deliberate in its speed. I honestly can’t describe what specifically felt wrong, but shifting from X-Men #2 to Excalibur #2 just felt like whiplash. This isn’t necessarily a bad issue so much as it just doesn’t feel like it fits with the rest of the books. The ending’s pretty fun, though. Marcus To’s art is easily the best part of the book — he brings a style that is just fun to read.
Gerry Duggan knows how to make a comic book engaging and fun every issue. If you doubt him, just try Marauders. Every issue has something fun, and every issue has something substantive. This one’s got a delightful action sequence, with a page that is sure to make Pyro everyone’s favorite former member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. It’s also got some really fun politicking between Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw, culminating in the reveal of the Red Queen that’s driven the book forward since this issue. Matteo Lolli’s art isn’t amazing, but he does a good job with the tone and style of the book.
New Mutants #2
This one’s a riot. Hickman’s sense of humor might not work for everyone, but for me his short stint on New Mutants was a great time, and I love how he writes Sunspot. The entire New Mutants cast doesn’t get as much page time as Roberto and Sam do, but the book’s just a delight to read. The real standout, though, is Rod Reis, whose art is absolutely incredible. Every panel is expressive and dynamic, and I cannot wait to see where his career goes — he’s already one of the best artists currently working.
I had the biggest turnaround on this issue between when it came out and when I read it in trade. Percy’s more prosaic style works really well here, adding a sense of melancholy to what is essentially an issue about Krakoa’s reaction to the death of their leader. While it’s a bit frustrating to have a death like this treated as a big deal so soon after House of X #5, Percy does a good job selling how big of a deal it is to the residents of Krakoa. Joshua Cassara and Dean White also do an incredible job on the artistic duties here – this book gets grisly. This slower style of story works really well in a more regular anthology style like this, and brings this grounding to the story back onto Krakoa.
Fallen Angels #2
It’s sad that this is the last issue in the volume, because it’s by far the weakest. You’ve probably heard about Fallen Angels already, but if you haven’t the short of it is I have nothing good to say about this book. The writing feels hacky, the art is really ugly, and the story just doesn’t fit in the greater world of Dawn of X. I expected a lot more from this creative team, and they really just didn’t deliver here. Nothing more is left to be said.
Get this volume if you’re interested in the greater X-Men status quo after House of X and Powers of X! If you liked the first Dawn of X volume, you’ll probably like the same parts of this one – and honestly, you’ll probably like X-Force even more because Percy takes a little bit to hit his stride.