Six Weeks Later
Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Tom Grummett (pencils), Cory Hamscher (inks), Wilfredo Quintana (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letters)
Summary: Peter Parker is sent to photograph the remains of the Xavier School, which is now occupied by SHIELD agents. He discovers a Sentinel, created by SHIELD’s interim director Ziggy Trask, scanning the grounds. He also suspects Nightcrawler’s nearby, but isn’t sure. Later, in the city, Spider-Man comes across a mugging. He’s shocked to discover another hero has stopped it -- Rogue, who now has Nightcrawler’s powers. Meanwhile in Washington, someone impersonating Senator Holloway is briefed by a SHIELD agent on the Xavier case. In Nebraska, Sinister tells Robyn Hanover he’s returning his focus to Nate Summers.
- Sinister, in the form of young orphan Nathan, refers to himself as a mutant. This is Claremont’s original interpretation of Mr. Sinister, that he’s an adult mutant trapped in a child’s body. According to his servant Robyn Hanover, Sinister is even older than Wolverine, but hasn’t been impacted by Burnout so far.
- Nick Fury and a few SHIELD agents are listed among the missing in the school’s explosion.
- Some more fan complaints are being addressed, although not to the extent most readers wanted. A brief scene establishes that Archangel is overseeing the members of X-Force and X-Factor, who now live with him in Colorado. Iceman is the only X-Man present, aside from Archangel. Also, Robyn Hanover remarks that Nate Summers is older than she remembers, which is one reason Mr. Sinister is interested in him again.
“Huh?” Moment: Someone has spray painted “X-Men Forever” on the gate outside of the mansion, even though the general public doesn’t know about the school’s connection to the X-Men. Also, how could someone do this with SHIELD agents (and Sentinels) keeping watch?
Review: A much denser read than the previous issue, we’re back to a few classic Claremontisms, such as the exposition-thick newscast and the quickie subplot scenes that hint at future stories to come. I think hardcore fans would’ve been more pleased if Claremont laid off on the Spider-Man pages and spent more time establishing what’s going on with the X-characters we’ve barely seen so far, but Archangel’s brief one-page scene is at least some pacification for the audience. Even though Archangel might initially seem like a strange choice to be leading a group of affiliated X-teams, Claremont’s already established that the character has moved on from his angsty/unstable X-Factor days by now, and given his resources, it makes sense that the teams would be relying on him. (This does, however, raise questions regarding Cable’s role in this plan, and whether or not this reality’s X-Factor is government sponsored, all potential plot threads that are never addressed in the series.)
The main story might be accused of being more filler, although I think there’s enough going on in the issue overall to forgive the leisurely pace of the Spider-Man scenes. Claremont has a decent handle on the character, and Grummett’s rendition of Spider-Man is reminiscent of John Byrne’s best work with Spidey. The guest appearances from the outside Marvel Universe in this title tend to be fun, when they’re not being strained beyond all credibility, i. e. Tony Stark. The title is killing a bit of time before the new status quo is formally unveiled, but that doesn’t mean the interim stories can’t be entertaining in their own right. Two issues with Spider-Man doesn’t seem like a terrible diversion.