Best Shots Review: INHUMANS VS. X-MEN #2 'Injects A Spark of Energy Into The Self-Serious Event'

"IvX #2" preview
Credit: Leinil Francis Yu/Gerry Alanguilan/David Curiel (Marvel Comics)
Credit: Leinil Francis Yu/Gerry Alanguilan/David Curiel (Marvel Comics)

IvX #2
Written by Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule
Art by Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan and David Curiel
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10

Despite my growing weariness at seeing heroes fighting against heroes, IvX #2 has managed to inject a spark of energy into the self-serious event. Gathered under the same banner for the first time in probably years, the various X-factions engage in a surgical and well-executed attack on New Attilan in order to bring Queen Medusa to justice. Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule make the most of this issue-long siege, giving a nice spotlight to the younger generations of X-Men and Inhumans as they attack and defend the throne.

Credit: Leinil Francis Yu/Gerry Alanguilan/David Curiel (Marvel Comics)

Giving this issue a metallic sheen and densely packed panel construction are penciler Leinil Francis Yu, inker Gerry Alanguilan, and colorist David Curiel. Capturing a bit of the frantic and propulsive energy that made his Avengers issues look so great, Yu throws himself into the thick of the action, filling the page with architectural detail and eye catching character models, giving a keener edge by Alanguilan’s precise inks and Curial’s darkened color scheme. While the “vs.” is in the title is becoming more and more of a black mark when it comes to event comic books, this second issue succeeds by looking great and staying relatively focused.

The time for parley has passed and now the X-Men’s plan for revenge shifts into its next phase. And what a doozy of a plan it is. One of the really neat things about this book is that, despite their aim toward yet another group of marginalized Marvel heroes, IvX has given us a united mutant front for the first time in a very long time. As a longtime X-fan, that’s something I can’t just outright dismiss even despite my growing boredom with stories about heroes fighting over idealogical platforms.

Credit: Leinil Francis Yu/Gerry Alanguilan/David Curiel (Marvel Comics)

And better still, Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule are making the most of it. Capitalizing on the previous issue’s taking out of the Inhuman’s biggest guns, the mutants methodically storm New Attilan in order to separate the core Inhumans from their home and get them on mutant turf. Though led by the more experienced X-Men like Storm and Emma Frost, the pair also put the All-New X-Men on the frontlines, giving this struggle a layer of generational support and allowing the newer mutants to shine for readers who aren't keeping up with Dennis Hopeless and Mark Bagley's series.

But while Lemire and Soule give us a focused team of mutants, they also aren’t allowing the Inhumans to take this lying down. As the mutants overtake New Attilan, Queen Medusa, Iso, and Inferno stand strong and attempt to weather the mutant’s siege. Like the mutant side of things, Soule and Lemire give equal time in the spotlight to the established Inhumans and the new batch, particularly Iso and Inferno, who escape the mutant’s net thanks to the hidden Eldrac, leading to the issue’s most heartfelt scene. After Civil War II, you might be growing tired of seeing heroes throwing down against each other, but, as the battle rages, it is refreshing to see that Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire aren’t letting character moments just fall by the wayside.

Credit: Leinil Francis Yu/Gerry Alanguilan/David Curiel (Marvel Comics)

But while the writing duo focuses on the cast, IvX #2 trio of artists revel in the fog of battle. Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, and David Curiel keep the script moving throughout with heavily details backgrounds and displays of tight blocking as the mutants and Inhumans clash in the darkened halls and chambers of New Attilan. Yu and Alanguilan display more of the symbiotic working relationship that makes their pencils and inks work so well together as they shift from expressive characters and dynamic action - and sometimes showing both at the same time, like in the case of Angel and X-23 chasing down a fleeing Iso and Inferno. David Curiel again proves himself a worthy addition to the team, drenching Yu and Alanguilan’s work with dingy and metallic colors that heightens the otherworldly nature of the setting and characters. Basically readers should come for the character work, but stay for the dynamic and tonally rich artwork.

Again the mutants have their backs against the wall, but Inhumans vs. X-Men #2 tips the odds in mutantkind’s favor, at least for the time being. Armed with a large cast and two writers that know what to do with them, this second issue doesn’t quite transcend being another event focused on conflict but it at least shows that it has more on its mind than just fights. Couple that with slick and engaging artwork and you have a sophomore issue that lets this event stand on its own two feet.

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