The first two issues of Years of Future Past set up a post-apocalyptic world similar to Days of Future Past, but a touch more optimistic. It introduced both Christina Pryde and Cameron, who later turned out to be not only the last mutants ever born, but Kate Pryde and Colossus’s children. The previous issue took a bit of a dark turn in the story, but this book is where things truly match the tone of the original story.
This comic opens up with a fight scene that lasts throughout most of this issue, with a few breaks in between of course. It’s a fight scene that not only pits mutants against humans, but mutants against their own kind. The action is big and fun, but where this issue truly shines is in the story development.
There are several twists that reveal the sinister nature behind some of the characters previously thought as good guys. Without spoiling things, everyone seems to have a different plan for Christina and Cameron. Marguerite Bennett’s writing excels here, with just enough exposition to explain things without going overboard. Each issue has had a brilliantly written speech somewhere, and this time, it’s Cameron’s turn. His speech contradicts what the X-Men franchise is supposed to be about in a lot of ways, but we’re not supposed to agree with him. I can completely see where he’s coming from though, especially after the things he witnesses in this issue. His speech leads to a cliffhanger, promising a conclusion that will test the Pryde siblings both physically and emotionally.
The art by Mike Norton is great. It carries the same feel of the original story. There’s a lot of debris flying around in the action scene, especially when Magneto shows up. The environmental detail is impressive with all the damage the fight scene caused and all the ruined buildings in the background. It’s always easy to tell characters apart, even they wear similar outfits. The colouring by Fco Plascencia emphasizes the mood with dark tones, without giving this a muddy appearance.
Years of Future Past is possibly the best X-Men tie-in in Secret Wars. At the very least, it’s a brilliant take on the original classic. The different characters have different outlooks on the post-apocalyptic world; outlooks that feel realistic and make their relationships more complex. Personally I hope that Bennett gets a chance at writing teh X-Men sometime down the road, even if it’s not right away. If you’re a fan of the original story, you should be reading this.