Round 2 Battle 8
E for Extinction
Coming in the middle of Round two, we pit the first two issues of E for Extinction and Squadron Sinister against one another to see who winds up moving on, and who stops here.
We have talked a lot about raised stakes in the second issue. Tension and conflict need to be ratcheted up a notch. There needs to be an extra layer of complexity and the audience needs to have a firm grasp of why what is happening is important. In the first two issues, one of these comics is doing this well. But the second issue of the other reveals rather insoluble inconsistencies.
The end of the first issue of E is for Extinction has a “boys are back in town” feel when Cyclops and Wolverine team up. There is only one purpose that can unite these two characters: saving Jean Grey.
Cyclops, Wolverine and Emma Frost team up against the next generation of X-Men, lead by Magneto. The X-Men still haven’t learned after 50 years of this comic that you can’t trust Magneto. He will always betray the X-men, period. His ideology is at odds with the team because he doesn’t believe humans and mutants can coexist, i.e. the whole reason the X-Men exist. His motivation is always to advance the mutant cause. In this story, he is harnessing the power of the Phoenix to protect mutant kind. And this is the biggest problem with this story. This comic is called E is for Extinction. The concept that mutants are not safe in a world run by humans is at the heart of the Magneto character. Mutants are always in danger of the human population who fears their power. Since mutants are the next step in evolution, what humans really fear is their own extinction in the wake of a more evolved race. But in the world of this comic, humans are ready and willing to lean into a future with an X-Clusively mutant population. Hopeful parents go to fertility specialists to ensure that their future child(ren) will carry the mutant gene. In this storyline, humans have accepted the superiority of the mutants. So my questions are: why does Magneto need Phoenix’s power to protect the mutant race? Who is actually in danger of extinction? Why is any of this happening?
Issue two is a non-stop action sequence that rips this plot hole wide open. There is a chance that these problems could be resolved with future issues. For right now, the story surrounding these problems aren’t strong enough to hold my interest. I’m tired of these lines and this plot I’d heard over and over. I think Emma Frost might agree with me.
Squadron Sinister is a fundamentally interesting concept. It’s a parody of all the D.C. favorites: Batman, Superman, The Flash and Wonder Woman. That is, if the D.C. favorites were evil.
And they so would be.
Listen, there is absolutely no reason Superman or Batman would would be forces for good. Superman has absolute power in the truest sense. That means he is the most corruptible character who has ever lived. Even Jesus Christ was a man. The character based on the man of steel, Hyperion, is a politically honest interpretation of the Superman character. Batman has impeccable combat training and fuck-you money. He’s got unlimited resources and a ton of political and economic influence. I’d argue that his politically honest counterpart already exists in Iron Man, but Nighthawk’s function is to act as a Brutus to Hyperion’s Caesar. These two issues do a great job of setting up a world where corrupt and powerful people scheme to take out an even more corrupt and powerful leader. This comic shows promise, while the other doesn’t make any sense. Congratulations Squadron Sinister, see you in round 3.