Comics : Earth X #1

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Filling Gaps

This review was first published on: 2005.

Background...

This is only issue 1 but I feel like I've already been completely immersed in the story already after reading issue 0 and the wizard special giveaway. Finally the actual story can begin. With Uatu now being blind, X-51 has become the new Watcher and must survey and catalogue all that is about to transpire on earth. It is about twenty years in the future and everyone on Earth has been given super powers because of a chemical called vibranium causing the dormant mutant gene in all of humanity to manifest itself.

In Detail...

"Chapter One"
Earth X #1
Apr 1999 : SM Cameo
Summary: Peter Parker Cameo, Cap vs. Hydra
Editor:  Polly Watson
Co-Plot/Art:  Alex Ross
Writer:  Jim Krueger
Pencils:  John Paul Leon
Inker:  Bill Reinhold
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Issue
Review

Uatu reveals to X-51 that his world is now in ashes and that it has only been twenty years since he has been away. He then goes on to talk about Captain America. Cap was created during World War II, not as an opposite to Adolf Hitler but to Hitler's number one agent, the Red Skull. The Red Skull's action were so horrible that America felt that it needed it's own champion to put an end to him.

He then goes on to tell of Captain being frozen in the ice and being found by the Avengers years and years later. Once revived Cap was a man misplaced in time. He no longer felt a connection to the American people. He was only created to reflect the American dream, but he could not represent a generation of people, which is why he declined the seat in the White House. Captain America's very existence made it so that not all men were created equal. With so much power over all how could Cap represent any of them?

Uatu jumps X-51 back to the present where we see the arrival of the Inhumans back to the Hidden Lands only to find that it is not what it was when they left. Things have greatly changed and the rest of the Inhumans are no longer there. Because they think that their prince would be considered a hero on Earth, they must go where Heroes go, New York.

Back in New York, Captain America and Redwing have their hands full fighting off legions of Hydra. Captain tells Redwing to be gentle with them because they might be saved and some of them are their loved ones, whereas Redwing doesn't think there's much of anything left that could once be the people they cared about within them. Hydra has become something like an alien zombie horde, trying to mindlessly convert all with sweet temptations of peace and an end to the fighting.

Some of Hydra's words make Cap pause and Redwing is afraid that he'll lose him. The only way to succumb to Hydra is to will it and with Cap faltering during battle, it looks like Captain America is just a shell of the hero he once was.

We move to Cyclops, decked out in normal clothing, who has come upon a group of Hydra trying to convert a small boy. He saves him and just as he's about to help the boy to his feet, the boy breathes fire towards he and makes a run for it. Scott thinks back to what it must have been like when Professor Xavier first met him and he reveals that he misses the professor.

In another part of the fight we find an old Peter Parker turning his back on someone in need of some help. With everyone having powers and him feeling so old, Spider-Man no longer feels responsible for anyone anymore. As Peter Parker walks away, we find Luke Cage has become a police officer and he offers Parker a job on the force. As Peter declines we see a female version of Venom watching from the distance.

Just as it appears that Captain America is about to surrender to the Hydra he breaks out of it and saves Redwing in the process. There was a moment when even Redwing thought Cap was finished but just as he was saved, Tony Stark initiates one of his purges, sending out the Iron Avengers that kill all the Hydra in their paths. Tony no longer fights with his Iron Avengers but he coordinates the attack from his headquarters. Tony, through the watch on Redwing's wrist, asks if there were any problems and Redwing admits that there was only the usual one as he looks on Cap. It seems that what almost happened to Captain America wasn't a one time thing and that he has been fighting a losing battle with himself.

Redwing tries to get Captain America to relax but Cap reveals to him what he ripped off of one of the Hydra, an insignia of the Red Skull.

In General...

Uatu retells a little of Captain America's history to X-51 then we see the Inhumans returning to Earth and the Hidden Lands. Not finding their people they decide to go where they believe they might be, New York City. In New York we find Captain America and Redwing battling the Hydra. We see that Cap is just a shadow of the hero he once was, almost giving up to the Hydra and becoming one of them, but just as he's almost about to surrender, he snaps out of it and saves Redwing . After the fight Captain America reveals to Redwing a Red Skull insignia that he pulled off of one of the Hydra members.

Overall Rating...

There was really nothing that special about this issue except for seeing what has happened to Captain America. Seeing him depressed and without hope is just what is needed for a futuristic, apocalyptic story from Marvel. Besides the huge battle between Hydra and Captain America and Redwing there was only little glimpses into this new world. We see the Inhumans returning but nothing is revealed on that really and we witness what has happened to a few of the other heroes. This story, being a number 1 issue, really just didn't have a very powerful punch to me. Maybe it was because there was already at least one issue before this one (Issue #0) so they didn't feel they needed to make a big deal about the first issue. It seemed a bit flat which is why I only gave it an average rating.

Footnote...

"Like one that on a lonesome road doth walk in fear and dread, and having once turned round walks on, and turns no more his head; because he knows a frightful fiend doth close behind him tread." - The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner Samuel Taylor Coleridge