Paradise X: Heralds #1

Background

With the Celestial embryo removed from the Earth, X-51 (aka Machine Man) has learned that there have been a multitude of alternate realities whose Earths aren't quite as fortunate. With Mephisto no longer capable of creating those alternate realities, X-51 decides to take action and remove the embryos from the alternate Earths.

Story Details

  Paradise X: Heralds #1
Summary: Spider-Girl Appears, Spider-Man Cameo (Viewscreen)
Editor: Mike Marts
Co-Plot/Cover: Alex Ross
Writer: Jim Krueger
Pencils: Steve Pugh
Inker: Steve Pugh

To remove the Celestial embryos, X-51 realizes he'll need some help. He travels to various realities to find some heroes who are willing to aid him. The first alternate world we're shown is a familiar one, it's from the classic X-Men storyline Days of Future Past. After being melted of his skeleton, Wolverine is brought back to life by X-51 and is introduced to the rest of the team. There's Hyperion from a world devastated by a nuclear holocaust, Spider-Girl from what looks like the MC2 universe, Deathlok from an unspecified universe, Killraven from his respective reality, Bloodstorm who comes from a reality where Storm remained a vampire, and Arno Stark from an alternate reality in the year 2020.

X-51 informs them of the events that took place in Earth X and Universe X, specifically in relation to why they'll be travelling to alternate realities and what they're trying to stop. From there they split up into pairs to find each realities' respective Reed Richards. X-51 and Hyperion travel to a world where science is outlawed and Kulan Gath reigns supreme. Killraven and Deathlok go to a futuristic world and are promptly attacked by robots. Arno and Bloodstorm find themselves in a world where everyone seems to have become vampires. And Wolverine and Spider-Girl are in a world where Reed Richards is the president, at least it appears to be Reed until it transforms into a giant purple monster.

General Comments

So, we kick off the next chapter in the X trilogy with a side story. X-51's quest seems to be benevolent enough, but won't his interference still be creating an alternate timeline where the Celestial embryo still exists? Or does having access to Uatu's machine allow him to exist outside of time? I don't think it's too much to expect quicker answers in a short 3 parter when there are some serious questions as to how it fits together.

The alternate realities are a mixed bag. Kulan Gath has always been an interesting villain, and he's been out of the spotlight long enough to make his return a welcome surprise. The other realities are less interesting, especially the vampire one. I suppose I've just grown bitter to the idea of something being thought of as original when you're essentially making a single change to every character. If it wasn't for the fact that something may be explored with the hero also being a vampire with regard to Bloodstorm, I would write off the entire premise. However, I'll try to remain optimistic. There isn't enough to ascertain from the other realities to consider them much more than generic.

The art is pretty good. It doesn't have the sharpness of the main series, but that allows for some softer visuals that blur perspective in a way that these reality hopping adventures often do.

Overall Rating

A decent start, though some nagging questions kept me from really getting into it.