The first issue of X-Corp introduced the business arm of Krakoa. Fresh off of a near-catastrophic debut for the company in Brazil, Monet and Angel are headed to the Hellfire Gala with plans to fill out their board of directors.
While their fellow mutants party the night away, X-Corp has some candidates to interview…
SPOILERS AHEAD for X-Corp #2!
Chalk it up to COVID delays or something else, but X-Corp is the second X-title to run headlong into a crossover in its second issue — S.W.O.R.D. being the other.
Normally the need to immediately tie in to a separate event would stunt a book’s momentum. I feared this would be the case for X-Corp, but writer Tini Howard successfully uses the Hellfire Gala as a backdrop to the issue’s main story: Monet and Angel’s board interviews.
The gala is not a plot construct that can be wished away in books like Wolverine or New Mutants, in which the characters are not necessarily prone to glitzy get-togethers with world leaders. For X-Corp, an expensive excuse to dress up is pretty much par for the course, and Howard treats it as such.
The core of this issue’s conflict is between X-Corp and the mutants looking to gain an advantage as part of its growth. On one side is Mastermind, one of the slimiest characters in X-Men history, promising to shore up the company’s image. On the other side are the Fenris twins, actual Nazis who would be in prison somewhere if not for Krakoan amnesty.
Monet and Angel have zero interest in associating with the Fenris twins, but recognize that mutants — more so than any human enterprise — will pose the strongest threat to X-Corp. Mastermind is a different matter. For all his obvious flaws, his ability to create illusions would be a welcome asset for X-Corp, which already had to weather a terrible PR storm in the first issue.
The reasoning makes some sense, even if the logic is strained a bit too much for liking. Why, exactly, would X-Corp want to be even close to Mastermind?
Howard hints at a possible answer with the final twist, which shows Angel hiding more beneath the surface than he has let on. It is far too early to cast a verdict on this storyline, but Howard certainly has my attention. Unlike in Excalibur, where Howard crafted a remarkable tale of redemption for Apocalypse, I sense Mastermind is not destined for a similar pull toward the light.
He is up to no good — and Angel will most likely bear the cost of it.
Some other, scattered notes on this issue:
- I enjoyed Foche’s artwork more in this issue, though some of his characters’ faces still look a bit uncanny, particularly Monet.
- On the topic of how Monet is presented, I’d be remiss not to mention an excellent article from the fine folks at WWAC about David Aja’s cover to this issue. I generally enjoy Aja’s approach—and think his Hawkeye was one of the best-looking Marvel books in recent memory — but the article rightly notes how his cover raises questions about Monet’s long, inconsistent portrayal in the comics.
- I love this mini-subplot of Wind Dancer’s elaborate preparations being spoiled by Monet. I’m sure many an Academy X fan would love to see her no-longer-useful “social media rollout.”
- Thank you, Lord, for this line in an X-Men comic in the year 2021: “…capitalism waits for no man — and mutants are not an exception.”
- Howard writes an exceptional Multiple Man. “Quit fighting, or you get absorbed” might be my favorite threat of the year. X-Corp #3, a full-issue spotlight on Jamie Madrox, should be a fun one.
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