Artist: Olivier Coipel
When I first heard about this series I wasn't sure if I was going to get it or not. I did however decide to get it after hearing about the upcoming Battle of the Atom crossover, and am glad I did as the first issue was amazing.
Arkea has arrived, and the X-Men, along with Sublime have to find a way of stopping her.
This was yet another fantastic issue, and although I'm not sure whether this was better than the first issue, it was at least as good as it. Brian Wood certainly seems to know what he's doing with this series, as he's handling these lovely ladies perfectly. I was however sceptical about Wood's writing this series, as what I've read of his Ultimate Comics X-Men run hasn't been great, and I was afraid that this level of mediocrity would follow with it. This however isn't the case, and we're getting a very interesting story, with a interesting villain. I was also sceptical about the fact that this series features an all female cast, worried that it wouldn't work very well. Wood has however did an amazing job, as he's managed to focus perfectly on these female character's, whilst adding a few male side character's to make it realistic, which is simply brilliant. Wood has also did a splendid job of keeping the series exciting, by adding tremendous action sequences, that have brilliant dialogue, and emotion. Besides the action sequences, Wood's also put plenty of emotion into the rest of the issue, having the character's in a situation where they have to feel something, whether it's worry, reluctance, or confusion.
The art from Olivier Coipel was once again amazing, as it usually is, and the only thing that upsets me is that after this issue he'll only be doing one more. The detail in his art is simply astonishing, as there are very few imperfections that don't take away from the overall art. Just flicking through and looking at the art without reading the issue brings joy to me, reminding me why I loved his art so much on the likes of Thor, and Siege, and reading the issue only make it better. The way Coipel lays his art out is also amazing, as it really gives more depth, and drama to the issue, making it feel more alive. The facial expressions, and emotions have also been handled perfectly, as you can tell exactly what the character's are feeling, making the issue that much more dynamic. The best part of Coipel's art in this issue however has to be his fabulous action sequences. Now there are probably artists that I can think of that do better action sequences that Coipel, but not many, as Coipel is one of the best, giving ton's of excitement, and suspense, making you feel like you're watching a film. The colours from Laura Martin, Matt Milla, and Christina Strain also really help to make Coipel's art that little bit better, making adding vibrancy, and tone to the already splendid artwork.
Although she appeared in last issue, this was the first proper appearance of the new villain, Arkea, the sister of Sublime. Now although this is a villain with little to no emotion, I find here very interesting, and the perfect villain for this series, as with an all female line-up it's only appropriate that it's a female villain. The fact she has little emotion is actually the most interesting part about her, and it has me dying to learn more, as although she gives the odd hint of emotion, you can never really tell exactly what she's thinking, or feeling, although I'm sure it won't be pleasant. The fact that she's currently possessing Karima is also another interesting point, and due to this I question how the X-Men will go about stopping her, without damaging their friends body too much.
Now Arkea didn't have it easy in this issue, as although she was in their friends body, that wouldn't stop them from attacking her, resulting in an astonishing fight, which was really entertaining, and exciting. The person who I loved seeing the most in this fight was Rogue, as although I may prefer Kitty Pryde as a character, Rogue really shone through in this fight, really taking it to Arkea. It did however also get more interesting when Kitty got involved, but I personally preferred the section where Rogue was fighting alone, as the dialogue was much better, and the fight had a smoother flow, though it was still brilliant when Kitty joined in. The way Arkea reacted to these attempts to stop her was also very interesting, and dramatic, and actually kind of amusing, as she really seemed to have no regard for any of the X-Men, seeing them as easy targets that are blocking her path.
Sublime is still around in this issue, and offers help in stopping his sister. As I said in my previous review, I don't know a great lot about Sublime, but after his actions in the last issue, as well as his connection to the villain, it's nice that he's involved in the storyline, and to be honest it would have been a bit harder to tell without him. Now most of the issue focused on Arkea, so Sublime's appearance wasn't that big, but it was still interesting, and added a bit of suspense, and mystery to the story, as he seems to be more frightened of Arkea than the X-Men are, seeing her as a bigger threat than they do. It's also questionable what side Sublime is on, as although it appears that he, and his sister hate each other, with Sublime genuinely wanting to help the X-Men, even if for his own benefit, I wouldn't be surprised if he turned on them.
There was one thing about this story that upset me, and although it doesn't affect the overall story, it was still disappointing. What I'm talking about is the lack of Jubilee. With here returning last issue, with a baby boy who's now called Shogo I was looking forward to seeing more of her, as although she's not one of my favourite character's, I've always liked her, and was glad to see her back. This absence didn't however take anything away from the issue, which was amazing, but it would have been even better if Jubilee could have been in it more (as long as it didn't affect the story), and I hope she appears more in the next issue.
This was another brilliant issue, and on par with the outstanding opener. It had amazing, and exciting action, with a mysterious, and interesting new villain who's sure to have more to say before this story's through. The drama, and suspense caused by this villain was also brilliant, and although I was disappointed that Jubilee didn't have too big an appearance, it didn't take away from the story. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this issue, and the previous, and if this series continues like this it will quickly become one of my favourite's, which I would never have thought of prior to it's release.