As Quick As Mice
While the first pages didn't exactly pick up where the last issue left off, they did offer some nice side story filler before the cover announced, "The X-Terminated vs. Cyclops" main event. This side story included a bit more about "Humanity's Last Stand" as well as a status update on the de-powered Jean Grey and Victor Creed. It was good to see both Jean and Victor struggling with the loss of their powers. I am glad that the creative team is taking time to highlight this critical part of the ongoing AoA story.
Jean's attempts at normalcy are reminiscent of "The Bride's", "move your big toe" from Kill Bill. I loved what they did with her in this instance - the perfect amount of torment for a superhero fallen from grace. But her fight is not over - the "Last Stand" has big plans for Jean...
On to the main event - the battle at Dark Beast's lab - The X-Terminated vs. Cyclops. As important as this meeting was, it was less impressive than what came after. Sure there would be no surrender for the X-Terminated, but who knew they would be such a force to be reckoned with? Certainly not Cyclops, and certainly not Weapon Omega.
Story: 4.5 / 5.0
At times the story felt a bit all over the place, but I think I just have to get used to this creative team (for as long as they are on the series anyway). I did like that they did not jump right in to the "main event" action and instead told a bit of side story to bring us up to speed with Jean and Victor. As an issue two, it did deliver quite a bit of action, answered a lot of questions and opened up a slew of new potential for the rest of this arc and hopefully ongoing series. One of the most notable themes in this book is how unpredictably formidable the human team is against the overwhelming odds of Weapon Omega and his overpowered band of mutants. But, in this world where the dead outnumber the living, the battle against the "evil mutants" would have already been lost if not for a team like the "X-Terminated" - so it is expected, I am just enjoying its execution.
Cover Art: 4.5 / 5.0
Both covers take artistic freedom that strays from the art within the interior of the book. The non-variant cover's art is actually more to my liking than the interior art, and the variant cover is simply cave painting homage to the Avengers (likely as an advertisement for the upcoming movie). I picked up both covers (as I did for the first issue) for my collection, and hope to keep up with that trend in support of this pretty great ongoing series.
Art: 4.5 / 5.0
Not my favorite style of art, but it is growing on me. From the dark and dirty feel of the AoA universe to the deceitful content of character portrayed by many of its inhabitants, the art certainly fits the gritty feel of the book. Aside from the dark feel of this art, one of the other main things it is good at is the portrayal of action. Each of the action scenes (and there are several) perfectly illustrate the conflict. Some scenes do appear to move "too fast" and it is easy to get lost from panel to panel. If it were not for the distinct X-Terminated costumes, it would be much more difficult to track each character through the story. I think this is more part of the learning curve for me in this AoA universe than an issue with the art - but then again, as a reader I should not have to work too hard to enjoy the book.
Overall: 4.5 / 5.0
As forgettable as the "battle" was, much more was revealed as a result of the conflict. It would appear that the resurrected Cyclops is just part of the first wave of Weapon Omega's and Dark Beast's battle plan. Much is revealed as we reach the end of issue, but in the end we are left with more questions than answers - it is a good thing they are compelling questions...