Credits: Warren Ellis (writer), Roger Cruz & Renota Arlem w/Charles Mota & Eddie Wagner (pencilers), Moy/Wegrzyn/Candelario (inkers), Joe Rosas/Digital Chameleon (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)
In Manhattan, John Proudstar’s secret headquarters is invaded by Apocalypse’s Madri priests. They kill him for his role in smuggling refugees to Avalon. Inside the submarine Nightcrawler is taking to Avalon, the electrical systems have blown and the refugees are choking on the bad air. Desperate, the crew lights a flare to attract a nearby ship. The ship’s captain, Callisto, rescues the survivors and takes them onboard her ship. Meanwhile, Moonstar and Damask are trailing Nightcrawler, along with Dead Man Wade. Apocalypse gives word to Damask that their mission is now to destroy Avalon once they discover it. Damask then kills Moonstar as punishment for cutting Wade for fun. On Callisto’s ship, the survivors place all of their valuables in giant sacks on her orders. She claims that the ship’s cover is that it is a shipwreck recovery vessel, and the valuables will help sell the illusion if they’re boarded. Nightcrawler, wary of Callisto, doesn’t go with the other travelers inside the ballast tanks. Callisto opens the ballast tanks directly into the ocean, killing all of the refugees. Unknowingly, her ship later drifts into one of Apocalypse’s “Atrocity Zones”, small islands where excess corpses from America are sent. While Callisto’s distracted, Nightcrawler kills her crew. He then confronts Callisto, but they’re interrupted by the sudden appearance of Mystique.
John Proudstar’s name is now listed as “Ghost Dance”, which is odd since he wasn’t called that in the last issue. (EDIT - As Chris points out, I probably misread that scene, as "Ghost Dance" is a reference to the transport to Avalon).
Destiny’s power is listed as “psychometric clairvoyancy”, the ability to touch someone and see his or her future. In the mainstream reality, Destiny’s ability to see the future isn’t tied into actually meeting someone. Xavier’s death wouldn’t have actually changed her powers (especially since she’s an old lady who was already grown when he died), so this is either a mistake or a hint that her powers were altered (presumably by McCoy or Sinister).
This is another issue with computer fonts, but hand-lettered corrections. The entire page where Nightcrawler kills Callisto’s crew has been re-lettered, although I can’t determine what might’ve been changed.
The June cover date doesn’t match the other second issues from the AoA event, so I’m assuming it was a misprint.
This is, not surprisingly, another dismal, grim chapter in the massive AoA event. There is a sense that this specific storyline is padded, with the first issue dedicated to getting Nightcrawler on a sub bound for Antarctica, and the second one devoted to his trip there, but Ellis at least tells an entertaining story along the way. The malfunctioning sub and the exploitation of the refugees add a sense of realism to the story, which helps to make the new world more conceivable. The idea that Apocalypse is sending his excess bodies to small islands also seems plausible at first, but doesn’t hold up to a lot of scrutiny. Couldn’t he just burn the bodies? Unfortunately, there’s a real word precedent for this. The art remains the weakest aspect of this series. Lashley is gone, replaced by Cruz and a small group of unknowns. Cruz’s cartooning looks okay on a couple of pages, but overall it’s a pretty ugly comic book. The art is somewhere in-between an impression of the “realistic” Jim Lee ‘90s style and the new, anime-influenced look of Joe Madureira. It doesn’t pull either of them off, and just looks like a mess. The fight scene between John Proudstar and the Madri is particularly dreadful.