Universe X #2

Background

Set several decades in the future, Earth X told the story of a world where everyone has become an Inhuman and how a child named The Skull controls the masses of super powered beings for his own amusement. Unbeknownst to him, or anyone else save the watcher Uatu, this is all a part of a grand plan created by the Celestials to use the beings of Earth as protectors for the Celestial egg hidden deep beneath the surface. Rejecting the Watcher's plans for him, Machine Man works with Reed Richards to thwart the Celestial plan and Reed attempts to reverse the mutation of humanity by building several torches designed to rid the atmosphere of the Terrigen Mists.

Universe X begins with Isaac Christians, the Gargoyle, chronicling the prophesies of Kyle Richmond, the former Nighthawk. Viewing the past, present, and future, the two work to record the events transpiring three years after the lighting of the first Human Torch which so far include the resurrection of the Invisible Woman and the journey of Captain America and the newly reborn Captain Mar-Vell to collect various artefacts of the Marvel Universe.

Story Details

  Universe X #2
Summary: Peter Parker, Venom (May) & Spiders Man Cameo
Editor: Mike Marts
Co-Plot/Cover: Alex Ross
Writer: Jim Krueger
Pencils: Doug Braithwaite
Inker: Bill Reinhold

Kyle begins by retelling the origin of Captain Britain, Brian Braddock. All three of his resurrections are noted, as well as his relationship with Excalibur. Kyle surmises that a lifelong struggle with the realities of science and magic has finally led Brian to accept both forces in tandem rather than viewing one in stead of the other.

Captain America and Mar-Vell reach Brian, now calling himself King Britain, and ask for the books of Darkhold and Vishanti, two tomes Dr. Strange had sealed away shortly before his death. Brian asks for a means to free the members of Excalibur that had been frozen in stone by the Grey Gargoyle shortly before Brian killed him, trapping his allies forever. Mar-Vell tells him that he has no means of restoring their life, but at the very least, Nightcrawler may still be alive.

In the land of the dead, the number of Mar-Vell's allies who now recognize their death begins to grow. They search for someone hidden amidst the large battle between heroes and villains and join the fray to prevent their odd behaviour from being noticed by Death herself. While fighting, they finally find Iron Man who soon realizes the truth of his death.

The church of Immortus begins to surround Human Torches around the world. Though they have yet to make a move, their presence is threatening enough to trigger Peter Parker's spider sense. Iron Maiden attempts to convince Spiders Man that Immortus is a fraud, but he won't hear of it, and she leaves him to make his own mistakes.

Bake in Britain, Medusa is presented with her son who is the perfect reflection of Black Bolt. The only apparent difference is that he can speak. The two accompany Cap, Mar-Vell, and Brian into the Seige Perilous, a doorway to other realities present in the omniverse. Within in, Brain's sister Betsy meets them along with Merlin and his daughter Roma. Merlin tells Mar-Vell that his Cosmic Consciousness is only a fraction of true omniscience. The group depart with the books and the one who is stalking them is said by Brian to be following Steve Rogers alone. Cap is being stalked by death.

General Comments

As usual, for every answer given a few more questions are sowed. The whereabouts of Nightcrawler, the reason Death stalks Cap, and when Immortus will strike. However, we've at least learned the identity of the figure stalking the group, and the son of Black Bolt and Medusa has finally appeared. It would be hard to call this a completely satisfying issue, but with so much more to go, it rations plot advancement fairly.

The sudden appearance of characters like Nova and Ms. Marvel is a bit odd. Their new looks are confusing, and their relatively minor role raises a question of when or if we'll learn more of their lives before their respective deaths. At times it would seem as though the story needs more space to fully expand on all the aspects of the Marvel Universe it's touching on, though if that were the case, the plot would surely be reduced to a standstill.

One of the benefits of a series involving so many characters is a chance for everyone to make an appearance, and in that respect this issue delivers. While someone like Spider-Man may only be given a few panels, it's still rather nice to see so many characters with a role in an event that is trying so hard to tie them all together.

The exploration of alternate realities and their connection to a "proper" Marvel Universe is intriguing. It may allow this series to do what few other alternate realities stories do, and that's connect the Marvel Universe we all know. Although it seems that this series may be even more ambitious than that.

Overall Rating

The course is kept and there are still plenty of mysteries. It'd be nice to know the truth behind the largest mystery, Mar-Vell's quest. But I can't say I didn't enjoy the issue. A series that's compelling enough to draw so many questions is certainly one that can be considered entertaining.