After all, the focus turns from Scott to the other characters, and it's more interesting for it. Charles and Eva have a conversation that goes pretty much exactly how I'd expect it to go, with Charles expressing frustration over Eva suddenly appearing to him and altering the course of his life and Eva telling him to get over himself and help her find a way to stop Matthew. (I loved Eva's comment, "Oh, this is the other Charles Xavier I've heard about. The one that teaches one thing but says 'the hell with it' when it's convenient." BURN!) Moreover, we see Matthew start to unravel as he begins to understand that his life will never be the same. Bachalo has a brilliant moment here where he has Matthew talk to Cyclops' skull like he were Hamlet addressing Yorrick's skull; it's truly amazing. Combined, Bendis and Bachalo convey the sense that everything is spiraling into chaos, and it actually starts to be interesting for the first time, because you truly begin to wonder how insane it's going to get.
I mean, you would wonder that if it wasn't so clear that we were going to ret-con it almost immediately.
I'm not even calling for it never to be ret-conned. Sure, bring back Emma, Magik, and Scott at some point a year or two from now. But, let us go a few dozen issues thinking that maybe, just maybe, Bendis did kill them. Let us go a few issues thinking that the way that Charles Xavier returns to the world isn't through the resurrection that we all know is coming, but by getting pulled from the past by Eva. Let us believe it. Bendis even hints that he might let Cyclops, Emma, and Magik stay dead, since Matthew's conversation with Scott is all about the fact that he can't resurrect him. But, it's clear that it's not going to go that way. Maybe it'll be as simple as Eva plucking them from the timeline a minute before they died. But, it'll be something like that.
But, that's just the problem with Eva right now, isn't it? In her story in the "All-New X-Men" and "Uncanny X-Men" annuals, she lost her family because she traveled into the past, erasing her future. In other words, time travel had actually consequences, implying that she had to learn not to use her power in that way. But, that approach, as my review of those issues show, didn't even last those two issues, let alone this one. After all, using that logic, why did her present not get erased when she traveled in the past to get Charles? How is it any different? If Eva is now able to travel into the past at will, is there basically anything that she can't ret-con?
I've been dreading "Secret Wars," but, if it somehow managed to stop all the time-traveling, I'd actually accept whatever havoc it was going to wreck on my favorite characters. At this point, it's just so overused. Anytime a character dies, you just assume that time travel (or something akin to it) is going to be the way that they're resurrected. If I actually believed that Emma, Magik, and Scott were going to stay dead, this arc would have me on the edge of my seat. But, I don't, so it doesn't.
** (two of five stars)