I gave the first issue of Jeff Lemire’s Extraordinary X-Men a mostly positive review, and I stand by that review. That said, I didn’t know what to think about the whole Terrigen Mist story that began there, and I’ve since thought about it a lot. This plotline worries me, and there are other parts of Extraordinary X-Men that bother me so far. That’s not to say this comic isn’t good – the quality is great even, but I’m not sure how to feel about it yet.
Extraordinary X-Men 2 kicks off where the last issue ended. Jean Grey is in school and has separated herself from the X-Men. Colossus and Magik are working together again, as they try to find the missing Nightcrawler. Storm and Iceman ran into Old Man Logan for the first time. On their own, all of these scenes work in their own way. Seeing Magik and Colossus fight alongside each other again is fun, and it feels like a long time coming. Their dialogue also feels nice. The Storm, Iceman and Logan scene also works very well. Old Man Logan feels like classic Wolverine in that he’s resistant to the idea of working on a team, but with the added scars of having killed his friends in his old universe. The comic’s ending cliffhanger not only brings in a major X-Men villain, but reveals exactly what X-Haven is. It’s not a huge surprise, but it’s an awesome reveal anyway.
With all that said, I have a couple complaints and worries. First off, Jean Grey’s college scene is well-written enough, but it also throws out much of her character development in the latter half of Brian Michael Bendis’s All-New X-Men Run, especially concerning Beast. Sure, the story didn’t seem to have a direction in the last year, but Jean’s character development is clearly defined. But the real issue is the complete shift on how the world sees mutants. They’ve always been hated in the Marvel Universe, and as long as discrimination of any kind exists, franchises like the X-Men will be important. But this return to the old status quo of hatred towards mutants increasing is getting old. Bendis did a lot to progress the public’s perspective on mutants during his run, capping it off with Cyclops’s rally at the end of Uncanny X-Men 600. Now it feels like that’s all for nothing.
It’s the very reason I’m looking forward to Dennis Hopeless’s All-New X-Men more than I am Extraordinary X-Men. Judging by the solicitations, it’s going to be a much more optimistic series. It’ll be about a group of teenagers wanting to be heroes and showing that mutants can be good for humanity. Extraordinary X-Men looks like it’ll just be another post M-Day style survival story. No matter how good the writing is, a lot of X-Men fans are sick of this story. I’m sure Lemire can pull this off from a quality standpoint, but I’m not yet sure if I want to read this kind of X-Men story again.
The art by Humberto Ramos is good, but won’t be for everyone. The exaggerated angles on the characters add emphasis to their facial expressions, which Ramos handles well. The backgrounds are also well-detailed, with plenty of unique people in a bar scene and a good variety of buildings in the city’s background. Forge’s lab is full of technology as you’d expect. It’s also nice that some of the Academy X era kids cameo in X-Haven. My only personal complaint is that Colossus is a bit too big. In some panels his arms are three times as thick as his head. The colouring by Edgar Delgado is just good. The comic’s bright and colourful throughout and the brown tint on Old Man Logan’s memory flashbacks is a nice touch.
Extraordinary X-Men 2 is a good comic, but I can understand if a lot of fans won’t like it. I’m undecided myself. Still, the characterization is strong, the action is fun and the X-Haven reveal is just awesome. If the terrigen mist story arc doesn’t bother you, then you should enjoy this. If you didn’t like the first issue because of the terrigen mist story, this issue won’t change your mind.