Years of Future Past #2 Review: New Generation Of X-Men Go To War


Years of Future Past #2
Writer: Bennett, Marguerite
Artist: Norton, Mike
Cover Artist: Adams, Arthur
Published by Marvel

If you read my review for the first issue of Years of Future Past, you know that beside the cover art by Arthur Adams, there was very little I liked about the comic. Marvel had taken the depressing aspects of the Claremont/Byrne masterpiece from 30 years ago and failed to balance it with the message of survival and triumph that makes up its core. Too close to home, it made me feel as if I was reading a comic about the Jewish Holocaust and not a fanciful take on a treasured story.

Years of Future Past #2 does not totally dig the overall story out of the dark and generally not fun hole that was dug in the first issue, but it does angle it upward. The writer for the series, Marguerite Bennett, has attached the narrative to the two young mutants, Christina Pryde, daughter of Kate and Piotr, and Cameron, Wolverine’s son. Each represents a different path for mutants in this future where Sentinels roam freely and mutants have become an endangered species. Christina has lived her life as a “licensed” mutant, following the rules (mostly) laid out by the human government and Doom himself. Cameron, on the other hand, has grown up “off-grid” in the shadow of his fearsome father. We find that the conflict and combination of these two backgrounds offers up some solid narrative tension. For mutants to avoid extinction, a synthesis of Christina’s and Cameron’s experiences must take hold.

This future group of X-Men is forced on the run as a new generation of Sentinels threatens to wipe them out. Modeled after Dr. (God) Doom himself, the stylings of these new sentinels are both goofy and fun. The design is reminiscent of the power armor that we see on Dr. Doom himself in the original Secret Wars series. Whether or not Mike Norton, the artist for Years of Future Past, was aware of this similarity I cannot say, but having this tip of the cap to the original series was sweet. What struck me as goofy was for the moderate build up to this Doom Sentinel, there was very little to get excited about. They get beat up on just like your average Sentinel. Boo.

Eventually Christina, Cameron and the rest make it to Centrum (not to be confused with the vitamin), a subterranean refuge for mutants. They are met by Angel and welcomed into the community. Using technology taken from the Sentinels in battle, the X-Men discover that the human government is even more dangerous than they had thought. The humans, it appears, are going to fabricate an attack on themselves, framing mutants and thereby justifying further subjugation. Before the X-Men can do anything about stopping this plan, however, Centrum is attacked by a cadre of Doom Sentinels. Our heroes withstand the initial attack, but the outcome of the battle is unclear.

Another storyline running concurrently with the main thread has Rachel Summers attempting to rescue Storm from prison. I have always been a fan of Rachel’s, so it was nice to see her. It was weird that she was wearing the costume that she wore as a slave to humans, but the source material from years ago took similar liberties with her design. I can look past the incongruity. Rachel finds that Storm has been harnessed to siphon her mutant energies to power the new Doom Sentinels. She breaks her free, and together they flee.

While Years of Future Past continues to be a downer, it has begun to turn into a well-rounded narrative through widening its reach. We are seeing characters develop into more than victims. We begin to get a sense that the story is moving toward something. It is a tough assignment, taking one of the darker story-lines from the X-Men and presenting a fresh and accessible new story. While the creative team behind this comic has a long way to go before they reach that goal, they at least have the needle pointed in the right direction.

From Marvel:

"* Freed from their military prison, the X-Men race through the ruins of the city to rescue their teammates from a terrible fate!* Horrified by what mutants must do to survive, Kate Pryde and her family must struggle to find a way to save their people–and seek out the haven where a dire weapon waits"

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