She has been fought over all of her life.
Some wish to protect her.
Others wish to control her.
And there are even some who wish to kill her.
But now Hope Summers, the Mutant Messiah, has returned to shape her own destiny.
On today’s episode of Retro Vision, we take a look at the finale of the “Hope Saga”:
X-Men Second Coming
The climax of four years of X-Men stories is the X-Event of 2010! What started in HOUSE OF M with the Decimation of mutantkind and erupted with the first new mutant birth in MESSIAH COMPLEX finishes here. In the epic crossover SECOND COMING, Cyclops’ faith pays off when Cable returns to the present with Hope, the girl he believes to be the mutant messiah. But will she be the savior or destroyer of mutantkind? We may never know, as she is the target of an initiative for mutant eradication unlike anything the X-Men have ever experienced. Many will be wounded. Several will die. Is Hope worth it?
Cable and a now teenage Hope have returned from the future in order to reunite with the X-Men. Although their reception is a bit underwhelming when they return to Westchester County, home of the former Xavier institute in ruins.
By this point in time the X-Men have moved to Magneto’s old Asteroid M base off the coast of San Francisco and have christened their new haven “Utopia”, a place where mutants can all gather and be accepted by their own peers.
They have also recently had their hands full with Selene, former Black Queen of the Hellfire Club and a mutant with the power to sap people’s physical essence to sustain her life and enhance her physical abilities, she also has an extensive knowledge of sorcery, raised dead allies and villains of the team’s past. She was defeated but a few of her raised minions still remained.
Cable and Hope are then “welcomed” by Bastion, the mutant hunting sentinel from the future, and his followers: Stephen Lang (A manufacturer of the Sentinels), Bolivar Trask (Creator of the Sentinel program), Rev. William Stryker (Leader of the Purifiers), Graydon Creed (Human son of the mutant criminals Sabertooth & Mystique), & Cameron Hodge (Former friend of Warren Worthington, Angel, and leader of the Anti-Mutant group The Right). They seek to destroy Hope and wipe mutants from extinction. In response, Cyclops sends his teams into motion in order to recover Cable & Hope, and to also intercept Bastion and his followers, resulting in the decisive battle for Hope and for the fate of all mutantkind.
The final piece of this trilogy is easily the best with big battles, big drama, high stakes, shocking revelations, and even more shocking deaths. One shocking revelation in the story is the outing of X-Force to the rest of the X-Men, and it’s pretty much ok to say that everyone one else is not happy about it. The X-Men lose a lot of their number in this fight, and it shows in how they choose to move forward, and one particular loss questions some to believe if Hope is really worth protecting at all.
The story structure is the same as Messiah Complex; with each writer: Craig Kyle & Chris Yost (X-Men Second Coming), Matt Fraction (Uncanny X-Men), Zeb Wells (New Mutants), & Mike Carey (X-Men Legacy), writing on their own titles and characters, but also tying it in to the bigger story. All the writers do really well in capturing the drama and desperate moments the X-Men find themselves in. A lot of the focus is put on Cyclops and the decisions he makes which lead him toward the path he takes in later stories. Hope is again written well, as this time she isn’t a weak little girl anymore, she is able to make her decision on how she wants her life to be. She grows up in this story, whether she is fully ready to or not. The story doesn’t drag at all, each piece leading up to this story is carefully placed, with each revelation and death acting like a mini bomb going off, changing the course of the event.
The art is also handled well, with David Finch (X-Men Second Coming), Terry Dodson (Uncanny X-Men), Ibraim Roberson (New Mutants), Greg Land (X-Men Legacy), & Mike Choi (X-Force), each of them detailing their own parts of the story well, with the exception of Land whose art looks awkward at times. They add their own artistic flair to each part of the story.
Overall, this was a great ending to a great trilogy of stories. We see Hope grow from a baby to a young woman and it is a great ride wrought with great triumph and even greater sacrifice. The resolutions and consequences of this event also reverberate through the X-Universe, and eventually the Marvel Universe for years to come. Highly Recommended.