Paradise X #2

Background

Mar-Vell has killed Death and built a heaven for all the fallen heroes. X-51 has made every alternate Earth aware of the Celestial embryo dwelling within it. Set some time after the events of Universe X, the world seems to be in a state of stability and the dead are finally being granted their reward. However, even paradise has a price.

Mar-Vell's new Paradise is composed of antimatter and resides in the Negative Zone. The guardians he has appointed ensure its expansion is met with little resistance. However, some of its residents don't quite trust Mar-Vell's newly created world.

Those still living on the Earth are cursed with immortality and forced to live with grievous wounds. The Guardians of the Galaxy have returned to Earth in search of answers as to how so much has changed. Meanwhile Medusa and King Britain prepare for their wedding.

Story Details

  Paradise X #2
Summary: Peter Parker & Both Mays Appear
Editor: Mike Marts
Co-Plot/Cover: Alex Ross
Writer: Jim Krueger
Pencils: Doug Braithwaite
Inker: Bill Reinhold

A little bit of perspective is given to the origin of the Punisher as Kyle and X-51 speak of it together.

Back on Earth, Dr. Strange has Dazzler recollect her experience with Mephisto. Strange goes on to theorize that while Loki had always been tempted to be good, Mephisto had always been tempted to do bodily harm to others. This would explain their respective behaviours after learning of their true nature.

Phoenix questions Mar-Vell in Paradise who seems oblivious to the suffering taking place on Earth. The faith of the guardians in Mar-Vell is noticeably shaken.

In New York, Peter Parker manages to get his daughters to stop fighting each other. May reveals that the father she knew in her reality was actually a clone. We must remember that this was originally published at a time when jokes about the clone saga were considered meta-textually clever and not yet obnoxiously overdone.

After defeating the Guardians of the Galaxy, Karnak tells them they will not receive the Terrigen Mists they seek and that he will not attend the wedding of Medusa and Brian Braddock.

In the Realm of the Dead, Steve Rogers attempts to convince Frank Castle that he is actually dead. He fails and Frank is later attacked by Jigsaw and the Jackal. He kills them both and the seed of truth is planted within him, that he's seen his family die already.

Blastaar and Annihilus are upset as they continue to lose more of the Negative Zone due to Mar-Vell's new Paradise and vow vengeance on Reed Richards. Meanwhile in Canada, Sasquatch affixes James MaDdonald Hudson (everybody's favourite Canadian with two last names) onto the body of what is apparently a natural human. That is, a human who has not been manipulated by the Celestials. Suspiciously. They look an awful lot like Wolverine.

General Comments

Some new villains are introduced, and the plot threads continue to move along. After reading this issue, the thin impression from the last one seems to be more easily attributed to the fact that most stories have a very small page count devoted to them. Blastaar and Annihilus are entering the story, and have only been given a single page. While the scene certainly didn't require any more space than that, it does seem like it's being slipped in to be dealt with at a later time. There's quite a bit going on in this series, but at times the limitations of a single issue are making the compressed narrative seem less substantial than it actually is.

The reveal regarding Mephisto is a bit of a let down. I've never really heard of the conceptual belief that the devil wishes to inflict bodily harm on others. Usually, he means to corrupt the soul as it's the purest aspect of an individual as bodily harm would supposedly be too easy for someone so powerful. I can't say I'm familiar enough with Norse mythology to say anything regarding Loki wishing to do good though. I suppose it can suffice as Dr. Strange's rationalization of what's happening, but it does quite satisfy my question on the matter.

Overall Rating

A slight misstep. I wish I could give it a little more, but much like Karnak's perspective on the Guardians of the Galaxy, the flaws are a little too obvious.