I'm not sure what all has happened with Mr. Sinister since the days I was first reading him during the big Inferno event of the late 1980s, but he sure doesn't seem like the same guy in Kieron Gillen's Uncanny X-Men #2. Sure, he's still obsessing about genetics, but what once was an imposing, nightmarish figure is now kind of a prancing fop. It's… an interesting transmogrification.
Gillen is doing his damnedest to make his 'oh, by the way' version of Sinister make sense within the previous context of his character, with a lot of gloaty exposition explaining why the former Nathaniel Essex has ripped the head off of The Dreaming Celestial to power his massive self-cloning factory. In fact, that's pretty much the entire issue – getting us used to his particular take on this mutant Mengele. Explaining the previously unexplainable and making Sinister definable for once. He's weirdly snarky and self-aware of his own egomaniacal need to boast of his accomplishments, which makes a certain amount of sense, but that feeling of malevolent menace is nowhere to be found. It seems weirdly matter-of-fact and shrugworthy all the way through, especially when discussing asparagus as "the king of vegetables" with Emma Frost. Perhaps that's just a factor of being a vastly different age back when I was first collecting X-Men comics during his debut crossover than I am in the here and now.
Apparently, all of Sinister's dabbling with the Summers lineage and cloning and re-cloning and re-cloning folks (not to mention the Rasputin lineage, if they decide to actually acknowledge the Colossus: Bloodline limited series from a few years back) has led to this – perfecting himself as the ultimate expression of genetics, and populating the planet with his hive-mind likenesses. He's even completely fine with having pissed off the Celestials, having every confidence that he'll survive their scouring of the Earth in response to his violation of one of their own. How, exactly, he'll pull that off remains to be seen – possibly in #3, previewed here. Even killing him doesn't kill him – the consciousness just transfers into one of the zillion clones he's churning out in various silly costumes.
The art team of Carlos Pacheco, Jorge Molina and Rodney Buchemi does a decent job here, although Emma's armored form, also copied by Hope, looks more porcelain than diamond. The flashback pages to the history of Essex are more impressive than the current day work, but there's nothing specifically wrong with it.
So that's pretty much it. The entire second issue of the Uncanny X-Men reboot is the bad guy explaining his plot. Normally, that might feel uninspired, but it serves the purpose here of getting us used to this new take on Sinister's attitude – perhaps this goofy smugness comes from a scientist finally achieving the goal he's worked on for over a century – and it's a fairly interesting plan. Plus, it'll get an angry pitcher-headed space god dropping down to Earth next issue. So it's okay. Not spectacular, not exciting, but it's okay.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 6.9/10