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X-Men: Divided We Stand #2 (of 2)

Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2008
By: Steven M. Bari

Mike Carey, Andy Schmidt, Duane Swierczynski, et al.
Scot Eaton, David La Fuente, Frazer Irving, et al.
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: X-Men: Divided We Stand #2 arrives in stores tomorrow, May 21.

Unlike the first issue, the second issue of this two part anthology--which is part of the new X-Men "Divided We Stand" event--does not have an over arching theme of rebellion.

Instead, there are separate "cleaning house” stories that catch us up with characters like Beast, Havok, and Forge after the events of "Messiah CompleX". Beast goes back to the mansion to destroy now meaningless medical files, CC the cure for the Legacy Virus to trustworthy doctors, and pick up a brain in a jar. Havok, who is fighting the other Summers' brother Vulcan in space, is taunted to quit by news of Xavier's death. Of course he doesn't, but his commitment to hope, vested in the birth of the first mutant since M-day, is genuine and thrilling (but not enough to make me follow his story in X-Men: Emperor Vulcan).

Forge's story is the weirdest and most unsettling. Written by Duane Swierczynski and drawn by Chris Burnham, Forge recovers from being shot by Bishop in "Messiah CompleX" and embarks on returning to his research on time travel. For those who haven't been following the new Cable series, Bishop went back in time and stole a big bionic arm from Forge's lab and tricked it out with time sliding tech. Poor Forge gets the crap kicked out of him again, and he's left now with another concussion, a missing robotic arm, and all his time travel research gone. He concludes to let time (haha, a pun!) takes it course and reveal its secrets of travel, and meanwhile upgrade his security, as he doesn't want to be disturbed again.

What was weird was Swierczynski's obsessive dialogue coupled with Burnham's distressing visage of Forge's neurosis. His eyes bulge as he grasps his scalp, revealing the gruesome metal and burned flesh left from the gunshot wound. As he does this, Forge thinks, "When you're recuperating from a serious injury—-and you're half in, half out of reality-–sometimes a single idea can stay fixed in your brain…and all you can do is turn it over and over and over in your mind. Pick it apart. Obsess over it." That's the opening page of the story, and it just gets creepier. Forge is now a man on an obsessive mission to discover the mystery of time travel and possibly alter the events of "Messiah CompleX." But will this make him a better hero or a villain? Look at what happened to Bishop!

As for the rest of the anthology, the only other notable aspect is David La Fuente's art in Cebulski's tale of Surge and Dani Moonstar. Although the story was good overall, the end fell flat on Dani Moonstar's face. La Fuente's art, however, was really powerful and different than his work in the last issue. Here he captures the character design of Leiji Matsumoto (Captian Harlock & Galaxy Express 999) and Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy, Black Jack, & Kimba the White Lion) by employing their expressive range of anger and placidity. Dani Moonstar's stoicism against Surge's burning rage is very akin to Maetel's omniscience and faith juxtaposed to Tetsuro's uncertainty and subsequent rage in Galaxy Express. Surge's large anime eyes reflect Matsumoto and Tezuka's design of clear, emotive appearance of the feelings of a character, where sorrow, rage, and joy are all expressed in the eyes. This provides a melodrama that isn't unfamiliar to the X-Men.

X-Men: Divided We Stand #2 is a must read for those X-Men fans that want to stay in the know… of everyone who's not really important. Sad. True. But still a good comic!







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