Picking up where the previous issue left off, Cyclops #2 finds the titular hero learning the ropes of space piracy from his dad, Corsair. Together, they journey to the planet Yrzt, described as “space Las Vegas”, where Cyclops makes a friend, Corsair visits an old buddy, and they get into a fight with a group of bounty hunters. All standard material, but the little details help the material sing.
Writer Greg Rucka continues to have a strong handle on Cyclops’ voice, striking the right note of awe at his fantastic surroundings and glee at getting to know his father while staying true to the pragmatic, taciturn character X-Fans have been reading about for decades. This issue hints at the creation of a supporting cast for the book, with the introduction of Baroque, Corsair’s contact on Yrzt, and Vass, Baroque’s partner/daughter/employee (it’s not immediately clear), who befriends Cyclops and takes him inside something very reminiscent of the modern Danger Room. Rucka is also careful to keep Cyclops at the center of the narrative: this is his story, told from his perspective, and while he may be untrained in the art of space piracy (or, humorously, sword fighting), he is still capable and effective throughout the story.
Meanwhile, Russell Dauterman’s art continues to impress. The issue opens with a pair of splash pages that create an immediate sense of wonder that matches Cyclops’ excitement at landing a space ship and hanging out with his dad, while the streets of Yrzt are teeming with unique and brightly colored aliens. Colorist Chris Sotomayor deserves credit as well, as the colors throughout both last issue and this one pop right off the page, creating a fun sci-fi atmosphere that matches the energy of Dauterman’s art and Rucka’s story.
Most impressive of all, Rucka and Dauterman manage to tell a complete story within this issue, one which introduces a new mystery (Corsair is either sick or hooked on some kind of drug, a secret he’s keeping from his son) and hints at things to come as part of a larger arc into which these events fit, but still has a clear beginning, middle and end. The end result is a satisfying reading experience on its own, and not just as the second part of a longer story, a rare feat in this day and age. The first issue of this series was a pleasant surprise, taking a somewhat dubious concept with a complicated character and glossing over those concerns by injecting the story with a sense of fun and wonder. The second issue suggests this was no fluke, and continues the series’ promising start.