Tuesday, June 9, 2015

X-Men: First Class by Jeff Parker Vol. 2 issue #3

This is the second part of the two-parter story Island X. Unlike the previous installment which was promising in its execution (not to mention so goddamn humorous with its one-liners and overall comedic scenes), this issue was pretty anti-climactic for me. I didn't really have any fixed expectations as to what kind of resolution will take place here but at the same time, I feel like this story shouldn't have been stretched out for two issues at all. I think it would have worked more superbly if only the expanse of the entire thing extended to thirty pages alone.

However, the standard page requirement per issue is is twenty-four, so I think that affected the decision to divide this story into halves. It worked, I guess, as a self-contained action-adventure story where we see the X-Men in a dangerous foreign place without their mentor to hold them together. It was fun and exciting for the first installment of said arc, but the second part didn't deliver a satisfying pay-off. Basically, Professor X sent his gifted youngsters to some island crawling with creepy-as-fuck creatures, all of which are trying to murder and eat them in horrific ways and most probably not in that order. It was revealed that this wasn't the real Xavier after all (shocker) but no other than motherfucking Mastermind. 

As we all know, Mags and Toad were carried by Stranger into outer space while the Maximoff twins decided to also give the hate-mongering imposition of mutant superiority a rest, so the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants was officially disbanded. Mastermind, meanwhile, became some sort of statue display in the Xavier Mansion. I remember seeing a panel of him in the earlier issue and it was pretty great that Parker decided to bring him back using subtlety and surprise by incorporating him in this arc, revealing that it was him who was behind the X-Men's suicide mission after all. My only quip was how easily the youngsters believed that it was really the Professor giving them instructions to "go to the volcano" in the most rude, snappish way possible, and not have any alarms go off until Scott thought more about it and realized that--despite his flaws--Xavier would not be so obviously neglectful with malicious intent. I mean okay, sure, Chuck has a widely known canon history of being neglectful here and there in the general sense--who the fuck recruits kids and make them fight monsters as part of the school curriculum--but Chuck does it for the best intentions; to showcase to the rest of the society that mutants can commit heroic acts and dedicate their lives saving their unworthy asses. But to obviously lead his gifted students to their deaths and outwardly shouting at them during his telepathic communications? It's a wonder why they didn't pick up earlier, especially Jean, that they're not talking to the professor at all. But then again, they have been chased around by various monsters in a span of less than an hour so I guess it's forgivable they didn't notice sooner.

Anyway, the ruse was uncovered right before this issue ends and the real Xavier successfully tracks them down in the island known only as "monster island" (again, shocker) and confront Mastermind in a brief psionic battle, much to Bobby's glee ("Yeah, Giant-Head Fight!" as he deemed it). That amusing commentary aside, I just thought this issue was weak. There was an incompleteness to the way it was resolved.


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