"Days of Future Present, Past Participle: 2 of 4"
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Clayton Henry
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: Digital Rainbow
Letters: Rich & Albert @ Comicraft
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As Alpha Flight discovers that by preventing James MacDonald Hudson's death in the past they've created a present day where the Marvel Universe is overrun by a robotic army, we see they decide a second attempt is needed to arrive at the desired end result. However, while a second attempt is made, we see the change isn't exactly a big improvement, as the team finds itself on an Earth that is being deluged by acid rain.
I get what this book is trying to do as it's essentially a parody of the typical time-travel adventure, as the writing is clearly having a grand old time offering up a tangled mess for readers to attempt to puzzle their way through. However, the problem with this issue is that the book is having such a grand old time poking fun at the plot conventions of the time travel plot, that it forgot to include a compelling story of its own to support the gags. In fact rather than a plot that advances forward, instead this issue offers up a repeat performance of the previous issue, as Alpha Flight discovers their efforts to change the timeline for the better has resulted in a nightmarish world that is overrun by a robotic army. The cliff-hanger finish that results from a second attempt also leaves me concerned that next issue is simply going to be Scott Lobdell making a third visit to the well. Now I realize that most time travel
plots are guilty of following the same basic plot structure, but this familiarity doesn't give Scott Lobdell a free pass to simply recycle the same plot structure continuously until Alpha Flight finally stumbles their way into a timeline that doesn't requires yet another voyage into the past. The issue also suffers from the simple fact that the action is
rather flat and unimaginative, as the big victory results from a character suddenly putting on a display of power that instantly resolves the crisis. After reading this issue, I have to say the impending cancellation wasn't quite so difficult to accept.
Clayton Henry does have moments where his art is very impressive, as he does a wonderful job when it comes to the big splashy images, such as the credit page that gets the issue off to a visual exciting start, and the one-page spread of the Marvel Universe heroes being overrun by the Box entities was also a great looking piece of art. However, where his art isn't quite so impressive is when it is called upon to deliver the action, as his preference for one of the lowest panel counts in the industry result in a very quick read, and most of the action ends up like a series of pinup images, rather that a fluid display of action. There's also a couple scenes that are quite awkward in appearance, with the romantic reunion that Centennial has with his lost love lacking any real emotional impact. The acid rain sequence could've also been presented in a more visually exciting manner.
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