Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #2 // Review
Everything seems just a little goofy in The Age of X-Man. Everything seems just a little weird. The malevolent Apocalypse is a benevolent Professor X-like figure looking to tear down the illusions of fabricated reality. Apocalypse and his followers face an aggressive group of villains as echoes of the past fill-in a few holes in the backstory in the second issue of Apocalypse and the X-Tracts. Writer Tim Seeley crafts a story drawn by Salva Espin with color by Israel Silva. While the flashbacks do some work providing details about Apocalypse in the dystopian utopia of The Age of X-Man, they seem unnecessarily tacked-on to an issue that isn’t doing a whole heck of a lot else.
The issue opens in the past as an incarcerated Kitty Pryde is freed by an Apocalypse and his followers. Things jump around a bit from there, finally landing on a fight sequence in Kazakstan between followers of Apocalypse and a large group of villains dressed in black with gold trim. Somewhere on the edge of it all, the revolutionary figure of Omega Red lurks in the background looking to bring the disturbingly tidy order of everything crashing down.
Seeley has a solid grasp of where the story needs to go and why. It feels like the heart of it is missing, though, as the issue attempts to connect a few different aspects of other series in The Age of X-Man. It’s interesting to see Apocalypse as the hero, but the further and further the character is revealed, the more and more he comes across as being the timeline’s incarnation of Professor X. That’s cool and everything, but it lacks a sense of originality, There isn’t nearly enough keeping Apocalypse distinct sufficient to warrant an entire series for him and his followers in this issue.
Espin’s work has an evident and pure quality to it that serves to cut some of the sometimes bewildering complexity of the issue. The artwork makes the slight echoes of the script and its dry exposition friendly, approachable and just a bit rubbery. The humanity of the characters might feel too cute and cartoony in places, but this series DOES have some strange bits of adorability about it. Dazzler is a beret-wearing hepcat. Apocalypse’s son looks like something out of the X-Babies, and even the menacing villains in Kazakhstan seem a little wacky. Espin’s smooth delivery of the action is given a bright and cuddly edge by colorist Israel Silva, who lowers some visual depth into the issue.
Seeley does an excellent job of pasting together an issue out of odd corners of plot that needed to come together in this issue, but it seems to lack enough cohesion to really feel like it has any place on its own outside of the massive machine that is The Age of X-Man. It’s doubtless that this series wasn’t placed where it was to be filler for the event, but any specific reason for the series to exist has yet to present itself.