By Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, Aaron Kuder, Jay Leisten, and Morry Hollowell
The first issue of Death of X established the two parallels that the X-Men and the Inhumans were living regarding the Terrigen mist. As we move into the second installment, things start to heat up. There are some members of the X-Men who believe this is a planned attack, while others don’t believe in such drastic things. As issue #2 looks to expand on some of these things and answer some questions about the 8 month time gap, one thing is certain: not everyone is going to walk away satisfied.
Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire continue to bring their worlds together with this event. So far, the horribleness that is Scott Summers has not done anything terrible enough to become the mutant version of Adolf Hitler. The writers show Cyclops start to take action and form a plan against the Inhumans this issue, which seems a bit rushed. His characterization seems a little off in this issue. While Scott has gone through a transformation in the last few years, it doesn’t seem like him to just declare a war on another race like we see here in the second issue. This hardly seems like the same character that we saw at the end of Uncanny X-Men #600. The writers do a good job of handling the Inhumans though. Medusa and Storm have a decent conversation that shows the two groups can get along. Lemire and Soule also add appropriate solemnity to Madrox’s burial, as we see several friends showing up to pay their respects. The writers give a possibility that Scott is somehow being manipulated, which is an interesting plot point if it actually happens, but at this point there is no proof to cement that. Writing-wise, this was an inconsistent issue for the characterization of Cyclops. His actions seem rushed and forced at points just to make the event happen. While the cloud is a threat, a tactician like Cyclops wouldn’t just announce to the world that it kills everyone and cause a panic. It’s disappointing to see a great character used as a plot device to further some agenda.
The pencils this issue were handled by Aaron Kuder with inks by Jay Leisten and colors by Morry Hollowell. Kuder continues his superb work on this series, although there is one small panel where Medusa is talking to Crystal on a screen and Crystal’s face is a bit uneven. That aside, his work on the rest of the issue is very good. Kuder really shines in close-ups of characters. There’s a nice example of this with Medusa, where we get to see a cross-hatched shadow on her face, which is always refreshing to see and a testament to the fine inking by Leisten who keeps the thin lines sharp as ever. One of the things that Kuder does well this issue is that as people get further away, his pencils don’t lose quality. With some artists, there is a major drop off, but Aaron Kuder does an excellent job of keeping the characters looking good throughout the book. The colors by Morry Hollowell are very good here as well. For a great a job as Kuder did, Hollowell’s colors are easily as integral to the art. The dirty green of the Terrigen mist is colored excellently and really set the tone for the page. Hollowell does a marvelous job on the colors and is an excellent complement to the pencils laid down by Kuder.
Death of X #2 takes a dip in quality from the first issue. It’s not terrible, but some characterization feels forced and unreasonable. Lemire and Soule are both good writers, but if you’re an X-Men fan, this isn’t going to be an enjoyable read. The pencils, inks, and colors were all handled very well for the second issue in a row. If you’re not interested in seeing one of your favorite mutants get ruined, at least the art is top-notch.