Marguerite Bennett delivers a strong second issue that remains true to the spirit of Claremont era X-Men whilst offering up some fresh ideas and modern characterisation.
The fear with a book like this is that the new characters, in this case Kitty and Colossus’ daughter Chrissie and Wolverine’s son Cameron, eclipse the classic characters we are here to see at the same time as being underwhelming on their own. Fortunately writer Marguerite Bennett has pitched these new characters perfectly and uses the supporting cast liberally enough to stop the new overshadowing the old. Chrissie and Cameron narrate the opening of this issue, explaining in parallel how they came to be who they are and then how they met one another. This is a neat opening, and whilst the differences between the two characters are perhaps a little on the nose, it serves to demonstrate how they could fall for one another even though they are so different. It also acts as an effective build up to Chrissie challenging Cameron’s treatment of Blob (whom he killed pretty brutally last issue).
Cameron, having been raised on the meanest streets there are by the best killer there is, doesn’t have time for mercy or second-guessing himself (and isn’t keen on working with former ‘super villains’). He explains his world view to Chrissie in a succinct manner, there will be no more mutants after them “we’re all we’ve got” and whilst his pessimism is understandable given the world he lives in, it is also pretty defeatist. But even with all that he’s not as gruff as his dad; he tries to cheer Chrissie up (or win her over) by laying on a little charm and making bad jokes. In these scenes we get a chance to see Chrissie’s character more clearly; she is strong and independent, but at the same time vulnerable and caring. What really impresses though is how she is already becoming a leader and mutant activist, she calms the group down and keeps everyone on mission. Even Mystique stays in line.
Shortly after this Colossus takes some time out to deliver a pretty emotional monologue to Chrissie and Cameron; Bennett and Norton make a great choice with this scene by removing every extraneous detail, the characters stand stark against a white backdrop with only Colossus’ words to draw focus. This works both in the world, Chrissie is so drawn in to the power of her father’s monologue that the entire word drops away for a moment, and as a device too – we are similarly forced to give this speech the weight and attention it deserves. Colossus speaks of the dark path a society can walk once personal freedoms are sacrificed out of fear of the other. I was struck by how much this moment of intense morality reminds me of Claremont’s writing, as well as acting as some pretty compelling social commentary too. Bennett has crafted a powerful ideological argument for continuing to fight oppression, even in this wasted world, and it is perfectly in character for the gentle hearted giant Colossus.
Norton continues to deliver a great blend of classic X-Men and modern style. I am particularly keen on the way he draws Chrissie in a very similar way to the Byrne Kitty from the original story. There is also a classically posed villainous Magneto in one panel as he offers up wisdom one can assume is from personal experience “with good editing, you’re the villain of any story“. The bombastic panels of Mutant versus Sentinel action are also a high point with the Doom-Sentinels possessing an imposing stature and Mutant powers looking suitably exciting.
This book continues to be a successful reason to revisit the past future; the art is great, the writing is nuanced and characterful, and the plotting is tight and inventive. Even though we’re only two issues in I’m pretty confident in saying that this would make a great ongoing, or else Bennett would be a very welcome addition to any of the post-Secret Wars X-book creative teams.
Years of Future Past #2 // Writer – Marguerite Bennett / Artist – Mike Norton / Colourist – FCO Plasencia // Marvel
– Rachel discovers that the Doom-Sentinels are powered by Storm herself and quickly moves to free her; this is a great and terrible reveal that really demonstrates the sheer darkness of President Kelly’s administration (it also reminded me a little of Magneto’s use of Rogue in the first X-Men movie). I was a little surprised at how quickly Storm was ready for action though, I guess it couldn’t have been that draining to power an army of robots!
– Some nice retro touches included the Morlock graffiti on the Centrum tram and the use of what looks like a classic image for the Kitty/Colossus family photo
– Still no mention or sign of Franklin Richards; I’m guessing he has been removed from this version altogether, perhaps to avoid having to explain to everyone who he is (or maybe due to something more sinister, after all where are all the FF books these days?)
– Could Cameron’s mother be Jean, maybe after Scott died (although Rachel is presumably still their daughter so that timeline might not work)? Or will she be someone totally else?
– The reveal of the ‘Little Guard’ was a really fun moment; it seemed pretty likely that it would be Kitty’s old friend Lockheed, but his growth spurt came as a welcome surprise!