First Impressions – An Expansion

Happy New Year, everyone!

2013 seems to already be a year for change. There are new opportunities all around us, just waiting to be grabbed. And like the changing of the seasons, with the old being joined with the new, so too will Second Time Around change.

We’re still a collection of old experiences seen with new eyes. That part will never change. Looking back on a television series or book or comic or movie that we love, and digging deep to find out why we enjoy it and share it with new readers, that’s always going to be fun.

But with new opportunities come new shows, new books, new games and movies that we’ve never experienced before. Something we’ve had in the “To-Do” pile for a while, or that was recommended to us the same way that all our favorites are recommended to all of you.

Thus we introduce First Impressions, and Noel will kick us off in the coming weeks. And with it, all new opportunities for reviews and exploration and deconstruction of what will surely be something special, that we just haven’t seen yet.

But we will.

And we hope you will join us.

2013 is going to be a lot of fun.

[One Man’s Worth] X-man #1


The X-universe has three major time travelers among their ranks, or at least they did as of the 90s. Rachel Summers was the first, and it was eventually revealed that she existed only within her particular timeline. There are no alternate Rachels. Bishop is another of the three, and as we know he’s now even further displaced, living in this timeline since Xavier was murdered. The third major character displaced from time was Cable, and he’s got a lot of special circumstances regarding his birth. He’s the child of Scott and Jean’s clone Madelyne Pryor. He was implanted with a virus and raised in yet another alternate future. So we’re not going to see an exact duplicate of Cable in the Age of Apocalypse, but since Cable had a solo book at this time they had to replace it, and that’s how we got this title.


The issue starts with a Terminator reference. The young man referred to as Nate is revisiting his memories, most of which don’t make any sense to him. He also ends up psionically visiting Magneto very briefly, before being awoken by Forge, his friend and leader in a band of travelers.


They’re all mutants, and they travel around in the guise of actors putting on plays to entertain the few remaining humans in America. Forge warns Nate not to use his powers too often, because it turns out he may be just as powerful as Apocalypse himself.


Even the Shadow King (who seems to live inside a lava lamp in Apocalypse’s lair) thinks so. Apocalypse tasks Domino to find Nate and either get him to join their side, or kill him.

This picture is here because I love her costume design.

Forge, Soaron, Brute, Toad and Mastermind all work together to try to save some humans that have been boarded on a train to be moved by Apocalypse’s orders. Nate isn’t supposed to get involved, but his desire to be a hero means he can’t just sit back and do nothing.


Siryn is among the humans, but she suddenly realizes she is not in fact a human anymore. Nate insists they take her along with them. The travelers are stopped on the road by another man, and while he doesn’t look a thing like him, the diamond on his forehead and his name, Essex, tell us exactly who he is: Mr. Sinister.


While certainly related to the plot going on throughout the other series, I like that this one can sort of stand on it’s own. The lack of bulging muscles and giant gun make Nate automatically more appealing to me than Cable is too. I also found it fun to see a mutated and more ugly Toad here long before the X-men movie made the change.

And with this, we have finally finished all the number one issues! Can you believe it?! I look forward to leaving the realm of introductions and actually getting into some real story.

[One Man’s Worth] Factor X #1


A group of mutants named Artemiz, Phantazia, Newt, Dominic, and Pyro are trying to escape Apocalypse’s prison camps, but are stopped by Cyclops, Havok, Northstar and Aurora.


This version of Pyro does not have the special equipment he has in the main universe, and every time he uses his powers, he badly burns himself. While Cyclops tries to capture the escapees peacefully, the others are more than happy to kill them.


We cut to Sinister alone with his thoughts, thinking about how he was so close to engineering a newer better race of mutants, but then Apocalypse started this war with the humans. He’s going to have to escape the citadel and put into actions his plans to takeover.

We find out that two more mutants are directly under Sinister’s guard, Elizabeth and Sam Guthrie. They’re in charge of keeping the mutants held inside the pens from escaping. After scolding them for letting the few escape, Scott moves on to go to see Sinister while Alex goes to check up with Beast.


Sinister narrates to us that it was he and McCoy who designed the Infinites, the soldiers we’ve seen fighting for Apocalypse all through out these issues so far. Somehow, this version of Beast still has his delightful enthusiasm and charm while also being deliciously evil. Alex meanwhile, wishes to take his brother’s place as Sinister’s favorite.

We’re introduced to the Bedlam Brothers, another of Sinister’s group. They bicker amongst each other but seem to truly care about each other, which is something we can’t say about the Summers brothers. The Bedlam Brothers head to Heaven to party, and Alex also shows up but he’s here to see the singer, Scarlett McKenzie. She’s a human, so he’s really not supposed to be seeing her, but the heart wants what it wants.


When the three of them return home, they find Cyclops waiting outside Sinister’s door wishing to be let in. One of the Bedlam brothers picks the psychic lock for him, and when they open the door they find the place empty and all the equipment trashed. Cyclops claims leadership, but Havok plans to change that.


Once again, we get an issue that is more introduction than anything else. Since we’ve already seen hints at Sinister, Cyclops, Havok, and Beast before now a lot of it feels particularly tedious. But of course there’s no guarantee you’re buying those other issues, so they have to do it. But personally I’m really, really glad I’ve only got on more first issue left.

[One Man’s Worth] Amazing X-men #1


The humans are gathering in Maine because word has spread that they may be able to escape America thanks to the plans of the Human High Council.  Unfortunately for them, Apocalypse’s forces are always watching.


Copycat pretends to be one of them in order to gain some information on the coming rescue, and reports back to her team.


But the humans still have a small glimmer of hope thanks to the X-men, who plan to hijack a sentinel and import him with a virus that will see them as friendlies and therefore allow them to aid in the rescue.  This portion of the team is made up of Quicksilver, Storm, Iceman, and Banshee, who we’ve seen to varying degrees already, as well as Dazzler and Exodus making their first appearances here.


We have further proof that this version of Iceman is far more advanced than his normal counterpart in that he seems to have a way of converting other people into moisture, thereby allowing him to freeze them and transport them from place to place.  I can’t imagine why they never tried to bring that into the main universe.  However we don’t get to see an example of how this works now because Magneto reveals to Exodus that he in fact has the ability to teleport people and he should use that now.  Despite having never done it before, he brings them all exactly where he needs to be.

This is the second time that Magneto has hid someone’s powers from them, the first being Lila Cheney over in Gambit and the X-ternals.  Here he says he never told Exodus because he was afraid his powers would corrupt him.  I guess this is all supposed to be a reference to how Exodus acts in the main timeline, but as it is it’s quite silly.

Storm heads out to the ocean and brings up a hurricane to try to mask the oncoming sentinels from Apocalypse’s forces.  It’s difficult, and we’re told Storm does something she normally doesn’t do – pray.  Then she says “thank the goddess” not long after.  I guess the situation is getting her in touch with her religious side?

Storm’s interference works and the Sentinels show up.  The X-men enact their plan to hack into the sentinels, and while they at first think it works, a sentinel then completely obliterates Iceman.


But hey, no worries, remember Checkov’s Iceman’s special ability? The characters assure us he can rebuild himself even from that state.  As they ponder why their hacking didn’t work, it is immediately explained to them by this world’s version of the Brotherhood.


Their programming was switched so that the Brotherhood is protected from the Sentinels while the X-men are still seen as foes.

This issue is pretty firmly average. We’ve got a decent amount of set up, but not much else. We have conflicting writing, where they keep trying to present Storm as someone different from her main timeline counterpart, but then have her use her same religious catchphrase that completely contradicts that. The misdirect is well handled, and Iceman being destroyed did shock me initially, but having it all solved so quickly kind of spoils the suspense.

[One Man’s Worth] Weapon X #1

The last we saw of Logan and Jean, they had just brought some information from Sinister to the Human High Council in England, informing them that Apocalypse intended to betray their truce.


Their reward for their efforts is to be sent on a rather dangerous mission to try to penetrate the Atlantic Sea Wall and take out its control center.


Apocalypse’s goons call in Havok to help fight them off.


Their fight is really just there to grant us a bit of exposition.  We find out that Logan lost his hand to Cyclops while rescuing Jean from Apocalypse’s camps and he took out one of Cyclops’ eyes in revenge.  Havok throws a lot of nasty words at Jean and Logan pounds him for it.


Their battle is interrupted by dozens upon dozens of sentinels being launched, and a footnote assures us we’ll find out what that’s all about next time in Amazing X-men #1.

Meanwhile Cyclops informs Apocalypse of Sinister’s defection while Beast interrupts to let them know that Havok fused with a sentinel hand when he was teleported out, and this dark version of Beast is about to gleefully use a bonesaw to free him.


It’s a quick little moment but it’s also pretty twisted and amusing.  Of course it may just be that any temporary reprieve from Logan hates Scott and Scott hates Logan is always welcome with me after so many years of following the X-men.  Like so many other men in a love triangle, you just want these two to kiss and make out already.

But for now, Logan is making out with Jean instead.  And while doing so he assures us that he loves her completely, though he worries that she only cares for him because he rescued her.  For what it’s worth, I like the chemistry and partnership the two of them have going on in this issue. They seem good for each other in this crazy world they are living in.

Once they’re done kissing they rejoin the human high council which at this point is shown to contain Mariko Yashida and Brian Braddock besides Emma Frost, and Moira and Bolivar Trask.  I think there were some errors in the art here, as it seems like Braddock wants to let Mariko talk, and then strongly disagrees with her shortly afterward.  Regardless, some of the humans want to give peace a chance, but Brian does not.


Their discussion is interrupted with a loud THROOM when Magma drops in on them to attack.  Despite the fact that they don’t truly trust him, Logan kills her to protect the council.

Why Wolverine is so popular in one easy page: He dispatches an enemy with little effort and then shrugs off the fact that his entire arm is on fire.

However she assures him that she won’t be the last mutant they see, and that Apocalypse is determined to kill them all.  Brian says this proves his point, and that they have no choice but to launch a nuclear strike on America aka Apocalypse’s territory.

The art in this issue seems a little sloppy to me over all, and when I looked at the credits, I noticed it said “Adam Kubert – breakdowns, Karl Kesel, Dan Green, Chris Warner – finishes” so I guess that means they were a bit pressed for time on finishing this one.  As such I won’t be too harsh.  There’s not a whole lot happening here, and I had to go back and review a few moments to see just what was going on exactly.  But I do like that Logan and Jean’s relationship shines through as something positive amongst the mess.

Next time I’ll be covering Amazing X-men #1