Finally, we get present-day Hank McCoy's perspective who is put on a spotlight as he tossed and turned one night in his bed, racked with guilt and dread yet still hoping things will work out for the best. The Watcher doesn't agree with him, though, and in a very Dickensian fashion, he walked him through the past, present and future events that had happened or will come to pass in connection to his reckless and selfish decision to time-travel the OCF in this timeline. What Hank gets a preview of is not at all pleasant, a tad heartbreaking and slightly unsettling in some areas.
After my previous critical review about The Trial of Jean Grey which was a crossover event with Guardians of the Galaxy, I've also begun to lose some steam for this title, and I'm only halfway through its ongoing roster. I just wasn't that into the Trial story arc because it was ultimately needless and bland, and I really wish Bendis would stop zeroing in on Jean Grey that much. It's time for the other members of the OCF to shine. This issue is the closest thing I have to the fulfillment of that wish because at least this story was not centered around Jean anymore. It encompassed everyone's concerns regarding the future of mutantkind as seen through the eyes of both Beast and the Watcher.
There were great notable illustrations and narrative boxes for this issue but I didn't feel like screencapping every page lest I spoil a lot of its hefty insights. I did, however, pick the ones that I liked the most which I consider to be both visually and substantially striking to read. Like this one, for example:
I loved this full-paged spread because it painfully captured the dream that the X-Men have longed for: to be accepted and celebrated as the heroes that they are. From this image, we see that humans are cheering them on, and there is no more anti-mutant sentiment. It was a stunningly moving illustration because it strongly represents situations and sentiments in real life where real people who belong in minorities and are heavily discriminated and mistreated have struggled and continue to struggle to this day in the hopes of being liberated and finally finding a place in society where they are equal to the majority and have the same rights. It echoes loud and clear the universal story about overcoming adversity, which the X-Men has always been about. The grueling and traumatic emotional journey mutants in general have gone through as fictionally depicted in the last 50 years of its comics run had been compelling because their fight reflected our fight against intolerance, ignorance and racial hatred, against religious persecution and overall stupidity of the sheep mentality of hate-mongers and hypocrites. The Watcher adds, "There are many futures in which that day has come to pass" and I teared up, I swear.
Even typing that now has made me tear up all over again. At some point, I believe we have all felt like outcasts and outsiders. Society has made us freaks. We were bullied; stepped on; humiliated and hated on, for the simple, utterly moronic reason that we are different in race, economic status, religious allegiance than what the status quo dictates we should be. People who haven't experienced the pain and suffering of being marginalized as far as I'm concern are the ones who are the least open-minded and compassionate, and are so self-righteous and privileged that anyone who doesn't look or act like them have to be persecuted and dragged to the streets. It is true about what the Doctor from Doctor Who said that "Without the capacity for pain, we can't feel the hurt we inflict." And the X-Men have been through lots of baptisms of fire and they never always come out unscathed. And now the Watcher cautions Hank that perhaps the recent events and the next ones to come will be the greatest challenge that their kind will ever suffer yet again. And, it might just break them for good.
I don't want to talk about this anymore BECAUSE I'M BECOMING RATHER EMOTIONAL RIGHT NOW. After reading this issue, I sat down in a corner and played Plain White T's melodramatic Someday song which captured the mood of Bendis' narrative here for issue #25. It wounded me and I'm so glad that we had these cutesy three stories in between that lessened the throbbing in my heart for a mild moment. My favorite had to be the progression of Kitty and Colossus' love story in X-Men which went on like this:
Thank you very much, I needed that. The issue ends with Beast trying to ask the Watcher's help but the latter shrugged him off but shared his personal opinion regarding what he thinks about Hank and it's not a pleasant one (and I sorta have to agree).
The last panel featured Hank totally never going to be a peaceful sleep ever again. Poor guy but it's not like didn't deserve it.
|Behold the look of a tortured and haunted man|