Earth X #3

Background

The entire populace of Earth has had their dormant mutant gene activated and now everyone has powers. It is revealed that after Namor killed the Human Torch, Franklin Richards punished Namor to always burn as long as he is out of water. Namor is now cursed to have half of his body erupt in flames anytime he is out of the ocean. Captain America, a mere fraction of the hero he once was, and Redwing have made their way to investigate the Red Skull insignia Cap ripped off of one of the Hydra drones. And the Inhumans are still looking for their lost Prince.

Story 'Chapter Three'

  Earth X #3
Summary: Red Skull, Peter & May Parker (Venom) Appear
Editor: Polly Watson
Co-Plot/Art: Alex Ross
Writer: Jim Krueger
Pencils: John Paul Leon
Inker: Bill Reinhold

We start this issue like we've started every other issue so far, with more background story, this time telling of Namor's parentage, how he was born of an Atlantean mother and a human father, which could have been why Namor has always felt like an outsider. Apparently the actual reason behind Namor's extreme shifting moods is because he is a hybrid. Namor needs to spend an equal amount of time above water as he does below. Too much of one or the other results in dementia.

Captain America and Redwing have made their way to the Red Skull's center of operations, with banners flyings and people amassing great amounts of fish and weapons. It appears to Cap that they are gearing up for a movement of some kind. Walking through the crowds with nothing but cloaks and hoods to hide their identities, Redwing is sure a man named Texas Jack spotted Captain America but he didn't do anything, which leads them both to believe that this is some kind of mind control affecting all these people.

Suddenly, everyone stops what they are doing and rushes to a commotion going on. As Cap and Redwing get there they see Namor enraged and battling everyone because of all the fish that have been taking from his seas.

We're next rewarded a glimpse of what has become of Peter Parker. May is visiting her father in his apartment but Peter seems more interested in arguing with her then he is in seeing her. He's still angry that she accepted Venom, the alien symbiote, to join her. May finally takes all she can and leaves saying that if Peter doesn't want to stay alone for the rest of his life he's going to have to deal with her and the life she has chosen for herself.

The Inhumans have made their way to Latveria to see Reed Richard and ask for his help finding their lost prince. There, Reed admits that it was him that caused the whole planet to mutate. He was trying something that would convert sound waves into enough energy for the entire world to do with as they saw fit. But there was a problem. The receiver stations all exploded which caused everyone's mutant gene to manifest itself. Apparently, Reed reveals to the Inhumans that he used a material called Vibranium for his experiments.

Medusa tells Reed of something that they came across which forced them to come back. They stumbled onto the remains of a planet that exploded from the inside and on closer inspection of the ruins floating around in space, to their horror, the ruins are actually the remains of the population of the planet and that they are somehow still alive. The very thing that gave these people their power also caused their planet to become unstable and explode. Medusa tells Reed that it was the exact material Reed used that gave everyone their powers here on Earth, Vibranium.

The people who were on that planet were in fact from Earth. The Inhumans believe that they were once a race called the Eternals (remember them from the beginning of the series?). Not able to take any of the survivors from the exploded planet, the Inhumans rushed back to Earth to save the rest of the Inhumans from a similar fate.

Namor is busy still fighting the Red Skull's army, when suddenly he stops and flies down to land in front of someone just out of view of Captain America and Redwing. Namor then does something he is not known to have ever done; he bows down before the Red Skull, who is revealed, by the crowds parting, to be nothing more than a child.

General Comments

We get a lot more back (future?) story on some of the Marvel characters, particularly the Fantastic Four and Namor. We learn that it was Mr Fantastic who has set events into place that led to the mutant gene spreading throughout humanity. The Inhumans meet with Mr Fantastic and they reveal that they have come across the remains of a planet that has been destroyed and in the remains they have found large amounts of the very chemical that Mr Fantastic believes is what triggered the mutant numbers swelling.

Captain America and the Redwing have made their way to California and have witnessed that whomever is behind the Red Skull is definitely not a joke and that they are dealing with someone with some serious power. The Red Skull has amassed a large army of followers who seem lifeless and drone-like, stockpiling huge amounts of fish, which has enraged Namor to take action. In the middle of the fight Namor stops and bows down before whoever is leading the attack. The crowd parts and we see that the Red Skull is nothing more than a child.

Overall Rating

It's now getting to the point where the amount of back-story is equal to the number of pages for the actual, current time-line. I'm all for enriching the story with some background information but it's getting distracting and making the current plot line seem less important. I understand that with any futuristic series you need to inform the reader of the changes with their favorite characters within the Marvel universe, but it feels like all the issues in the series so far read more like a history lesson then as a narrative action adventure.

The writer spends more time telling us what has already happened then he does showing us what is currently taking place. For that reason this issue drops a little below the average rating. Hopefully the series will start to pick up now that, hopefully, the background information we need has been given to us. It would have been better if instead of telling us what happened in the past that led the characters where they are now, to show us and let us see for ourselves the background story but I guess that would have resulted in too long of a series.

Footnote

"The sun's rim dips; the stars rush out: At one stride comes the dark." - John Milton Samson Agonistes