Thursday, August 27, 2015

Years of Future Past #3 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

One of the challenges that the authors of the "Secret Wars" tie-in issues face is that they don't have a lot of time to convey the necessary details establishing the reality that they're shepherding.  Since most of the tie-in issues focus on previous events, they've got to show us how these events ended differently in fairly short order so that they can get onto telling the story that they want to tell.  It's not an easy job, I admit, but Bennett is really struggling to do that here.
The big revelation of this issue is that Cameron is actually Kitty and Colossus' son.  Kitty conveniently blurts out this information as she saves his life from the attacking Sentinels, and she escapes with the kids as Colossus and Logan try to help the refugees escape Centrum.  Later, we learn that Logan fled with Cameron when he was an infant as the Sentinels captured the rest of the team (Kitty was pregnant with Chrissie at the time).  As Cameron himself admits, it sort of makes sense, since they needed someone out there trained to fight President Kelly if he got fully genocidal.  (Kitty doesn't admit to that, but she doesn't necessarily deny it either.)  However, I still don't understand where Logan took him.  Bennett generally portrays the United Doomstates as a dictatorial regime that Kelly controls with an iron fist.  As such, it doesn't make sense to me that even Logan could escape observation for that long, particularly with a kid in tow.  Moreover, Bennett implied in the last issue that Logan seemed to leave Cameron for long periods of time to meet with Kitty and the team in the camps, making it seem all the more likely that he would've been caught at some point.  To make matters worse, Cameron is full of all sorts of pop-culture trivia (like "Star Wars" and Wikipedia) that make it seem like he was just chillin' at a bro's house all this time and not struggling to survive in a hostile world.  It leaves me really confused about how the Doomstates really work, and it distracts from the story that Bennett is trying to tell.

Beyond just the problems with the premise, Bennett doesn't really make anyone's motivations clear.  Kitty and the kids escape to a church that Nightcrawler runs, since even Kelly won't shut down a sanctuary dedicated to Doom.  However, rather than taking a minute to regroup, Kitty and Kurt decide almost immediately that Cameron and Chrissie should liberate a mutant detention-camp on the doorstep of the church.  Cameron then proceeds to point out all the various problems with this plan.  He reminds the group that Kitty just regained her powers and Chrissie has never used them, so maybe it's better to wait for Angel, Colossus, Logan, Ororo, and Rachel to return.  Moreover, he observes that this plan really makes little sense when you consider the fact that the prisoners are unlikely to be strong enough to lead some sort of revolt against Kelly.  Finally, he reminds them that Doom chose Kelly as baron, so it's not really clear if Doom would let the revolt succeed even if they could swing it.  I get Chrissie dismissing Cameron as pessimistic, but Bennett makes no attempt to explain what Kitty and Kurt were thinking or not thinking, as the case may be.  (I mean, we're talking about serious pet peeve #3 here:  using a character to lay out the problem with your plot doesn't excuse you for having the problems in the first place.)  However, Chrissie impulsively attacks the camp, everyone follows, and, surprise, surprise, Freedom Force is there, because it's a trap.  (I don't know how they knew that this group would attack.  Did Destiny foresee it?  Anyway, at this point, it's the least of my worries.)

Honestly, I just have no idea where we're going here.  To make matters worse, Bennett continues to fill up panel after panel with script, making it all the more upsetting that we have no clear idea of the plot, since we have to plow through so much exposition along the way.  Unfortunately, I really feel like this story is skippable.

* (one of five stars)

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