Sep 22, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 210: X-Universe #2, June 1995

Anyone who's read my review of issue one of this series probably expected as little from it as I did this morning when I started reading it. I was surprised, rather pleasantly. I don't know what happened with the first issue, but this second one read like the amazing ending to some crazed, dystopian sci-fi movie, complete with a 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque ending. It was actually really, really good.

Sparkling praise aside, there were still moments that felt a bit rushed, which got me wondering why a series like X-Universe was only given two issues. This could have been a really amazing series if it had been given the same attention in the AoA as all of the other series. We hear about Mikhail Rasputin, the "Forgotten Horseman" a few times over the course of the main AoA series, but are only exposed to him in this series. Given a couple more issues, he really could have been a memorable villain, rather than another hastily erected and then torn down caricature. The Matt Murdock story, the end of which in this issue was truly moving, had it been given slightly more space to expand, could have been one of the really great Daredevil stories. The same goes for Tony Stark, who gets hands down the best line in this issue, name-dropping the Avengers in  a world in which they never existed.

X-Universe had amazing potential. As much as seeing the iconic versions of the X-Men showing through their AoA counterparts was great, the comparable slim treatment afforded the rest of the superheroic universe within which they exist speaks to the annoying prevalence of all things X in this era of Marvel comics.

Let me talk about the end of the series a bit. Spoiler alert, btw. The human evacuation plan works, and we see a group of arks lifting out of the atmosphere and into space. How this all links up with the nuclear strike plan of the regular series, I have no idea. But then the ships, I don't know, blast into hyperspace or something, the final panel a burst of brightness, the caption boxes stating "-mystery whispers..." "...and behind these chosen few-" "-reality passes..." There isn't even a box at the end saying "End." Just "reality passes." As far as I've been able to tell, these characters have never shown up again, though, as I note above, they're pretty great takes on some of the big names of the Marvel U. Where do they go? Are we to assume that, as the regular universe reasserts itself, these travellers are retconned out of existence? Or do they avoid the revision wave, jumping outside space-time as it hits, and continue the human adventure somewhere else? I like to think so. That would be fantastic.

Tomorrow we get to the grand finale. We know what's going to happen, but certainly not how, and I'm excited. See you then.

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