For a guy who claimed that he didn’t know how to be a father, Christopher Summers — the Crimson Corsair of Starjammer notoriety — is sure doing a damn good job at it so far. As Cyclops and his father zip around the universe on an intergalactic road trip, the Corsair’s reputation lands them in a spot of trouble with consequences that neither Scott nor Chris could see coming. With Greg Rucka’s charm and Russell Dauterman’s wonderfully bizarre character design, “Cyclops” #2 is a feel-good issue overflowing with high-flying fun and adventure.
With a book that’s set off-earth and stars a space pirate and his mutant son, “grounded” is the last word one would expect to describe it — but that’s exactly how Rucka spins this particular story by taking a series of traditional father-son activities like sports-events and hiking and making them extraordinary. As Dauterman lays these events out like a photo album at the beginning of the issue, they not only get the point across quickly but also move the timeline up naturally and succinctly. Rucka deftly drops these moments throughout the issue in a way that organically shows that genuine bond that the characters are developing, from flying lessons to general advice and more. Despite the fact that some of Corsair’s decisions are questionable, Rucka and Dauterman absolutely infuse the book with the sense that Corsair is motivated by fatherly concern through his selective dialogue and body language. In a setting so entirely outlandish, Rucka makes Cyclops and Corsair’s interactions feel authentic and familiar.
Although it’s those smaller moments that ultimately give the book its distinct quality, Rucka’s more serious thematic elements add depth. After introducing the idea on the first splash page, he peppers in subtle moments that build towards the issue’s chilling conclusion; these moments appear frequently, but there is no browbeating to be found here, just layers of thoughtful dialogue and a masterfully paced sequence of events. What’s more, Rucka dives into the meat of the story with this issue. Where the first issue moved all of the pieces into place, this second issue really gives the arc a sense of direction — and it’s a doozy. Likewise, he includes a few turns that will catch even astute readers off guard; his ability to flip cliches reminds of “Firefly” in all the best possible ways.
Dauterman’s artwork is just as bombastic and delightful as Rucka’s story. With candid body language and frank expressions, his figures are a joy to behold. His Corsair oozes assurance with cocky smiles and a firm posture, which provides a wonderful contrast to his weaker moments; on the other hand, Scott looks as stiff as his father is confident in a polo that’s buttoned all the way to the top. Further, Dauterman populates his alien planets with wonderfully bizarre character designs, including a blend of new and old species. Each page brings a barrage of distinct faces and body types; Baroque, in particular, has a marvelously wacky appearance with fluid movement and a strong presence. Although he does lovely work with these fantastic worlds and exciting action scenes, his inspired figure work steals the show. Additionally, Chris Sotomayor contributes to the fun, outlandish atmosphere with vivid colors that make each panel bright and clear.
Only two issues in, “Cyclops” may be one of Marvel’s best ventures yet. Although the book has its darker undertones, Rucka and Dauterman have spun a tale that is devastatingly charming and sweet. No need to keep up appearances here: there is a whole lot to love about this book.