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Sep 16

Children of the Vault #2 annotations

Posted on Saturday, September 16, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

Writer: Deniz Camp
Artist: Luca Maresca
Colourist: Carlos Lopez
Letterer: Cory Petit
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1. The Children of the Vault – Ferro, Serafina, a guy in the background that I don’t recognise, Capitán and Átomo – hover over the public in superhero mode. Bishop and Cable are among the crowd wearing hoods.

PAGES 2-4. Bishop and Cable capture Martillo-131.

Presumably Martillo gets chosen as the target because he’s alone. But our attention is drawn to the fact that Martillo likes the current state of human culture, which the Children’s plan is going to wipe out. He’s more at the stage of regretting its loss than actually turning against the plan, but still.

PAGE 5. Recap and credits

PAGE 6. The Children defeat a zombie invasion.

Earth-2149 is the Marvel Zombies universe, and so these are Avengers who’ve appeared before. They have in fact tried to make it to the mainstream universe before, in the Marvel Zombies 3 miniseries.

In this case, the zombie Avengers have shown up in Haiti. Presumably it was chosen because of its association with voodoo and zombies, but it’s part of a larger theme in this miniseries where the Children are shown acting as superheroes in parts of the world that the Marvel Universe tends to ignore (and rarely shown in the areas which do appear regularly).

PAGE 7. The Children defeat a “radical Shi’ar faction”.

We’re not really told anything about who these guys are. The Imperial Guard members shown here are Manta, Smasher, Oracle, Warstar, Titan and Scintilla, but they’re not the main versions – the narrator calls the “brainwashed, backup Superguardians”. The Imperial Guard has a whole bunch of reserves ready to take over the role of any of their members, and these are apparently among them.

Of all the threats that the Children deal with on pages 6 to 8, these are the only ones normally tied to the X-Men.

“Become the Future” is the Children’s PR slogan, as seen last issue.

PAGE 8. The Children fight off more threats.

I’ve no idea who the “Negative Zone anti-zealots” are, but the guy in the foreground being punched in the face is Blastaar, a long-running Fantastic Four villain.

Shuma-Gorath is a Dr Strange villain dating back to 1973; the name was taken from a reference in a Robert E Howard story. There was an issue a couple of years back about Marvel not actually having the rights to the name, but presumably that’s been sorted.

“A fallen former herald of Galactus.” This is Terrax, a late-1970s Fantastic Four villain.

PAGE 9. Cable enters Martillo’s mind.

This page is a homage to New X-Men #121 (2002), the silent “psychic rescue” issue. Page 6 of that issue is very similar, down to the colour of the water and the position of the boats – though the two flanking statues on this page are original, and apparently represent Martillo with his hammer, depicted as a classical statue.

PAGE 10. Data page. This is part of a history of the Children, as recorded by Diamante. He previously appeared in X-Men #19 (2021) as the Children’s living repository of history – a similar role to Xilo’s on Arakko.

The opening three paragraphs seem to refer to the Children were stuck in a trap by Forge waking up last issue (after Krakoa fell and stopped sustaining their prison). We actually saw more Children than just the five mentioned here, but Diamante doesn’t say his list is exhaustive. Apparently they returned to the Vault to tell the rest of the Children how badly they failed and the Children decided to take advantage of their time warp to spent another few generations figuring out precisely what to do next. The fall of mutantkind is presented as a shock to the Children, who had previously defined themselves in opposition to the mutants (presumably, starting with their encounter with the X-Men, but from their point of view that’s centuries).

The Children then have a debate about whether to wipe out life on Earth and start afresh, or whether to try and assimilate the humans in some form. This caused a massive and unproductive argument which delayed the Children for ages (from their point of view). We pick up that story in the next data page, on page 19.

Juez, Guia, Camino, Ruido and Oradora are all new names, I think. Of more note, Sangre-142 apparently had very strong views on the issue, but nobody was very clear what they were. Perro and Fuego were on opposing sides of the argument; they’re now merged into a single character. And Luz-64 was apparently an extreme liberal who wanted to live alongside the humans and interbreed with them – the current Luz is Luz-67, but this might suggest that Luz remains among the more sympathetic Children.

PAGES 11-13. Cable interrogates Merillo while probing his mind.

The Spanish dialogue means exactly what you’d expect. “Would you prefer to do this in Spanish?” “I don’t care.”

“I was there the first time you crazy kids crawled out of your hidey-hole.” X-Men #188-193 (2006). Cable joins the X-Men during that arc.

PAGES 14-15. Bishop recovers Cable’s weapons cache from the X-Men Mansion.

Presumably part of the reason for this is to stop the weapons falling into the hands of Orchis, since otherwise you’d have thought they’d have chosen a less well guarded cache.

PAGE 16. The Children of the Vault are recognised by the UN.

Specifically, the City is recognised as a sovereign entity (presumably akin to the Vatican). There’s a bit of parallel world syndrome going on here – this book has the Children making progress towards a takeover of the world, something which hasn’t come up at all in any other “Fall of X” titles. Maybe it’ll become clearer how it all fits together – or perhaps the idea is that none of the North American characters have noticed because it’s mostly happening in countries they don’t care about. (That said, we did see that New Yorkers were already under the Children’s influence last issue.)

PAGES 17-18. The Children discuss the next step.

Serafina is positioned as one of the relative liberals, and Capitán as one of the extremists who don’t care in the slightest about humanity. Serafina’s side won the argument, which is why we’re getting a nice, polite mind control exercise rather than an onslaught of lethal force.

Piedra Dura was one of the Children from Mike Carey’s run, debuting in X-Men Legacy #241. Terramoto was a minor character from Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men #19.

PAGE 19. Data page. Diamante continues his account of the argument within the Children, and how Serafina won. We’re specifically told that once everyone accepted that Serafina had the majority, everyone killed themselves so that there could be a new generation oriented around this consensus – so perhaps we shouldn’t expect these Children to retain their previous views.

Palabra, Oradora and Letra are Spanish for “word”, “orator” and “letter”. Sueno is “dream”.

PAGES 19-23. Cable finishes with Martillo, and kills him.

Martillo basically confirms that the Children’s plan will wipe out the vast majority of humanity, but the surviving 1% will get to join the Children. So that’s nice.

I don’t really understand what we’re meant to be taking from the blisters that appear on Martillo’s face, or from Cable consuming the ballet dancer inside Martillo’s mind – perhaps she’s supposed to represent his inner soul or something, but why?

PAGE 24. Trailers. The Krakoan reads WAR ON TOMORROW.

Bring on the comments

  1. Sam says:

    I was trying to figure out why the Children of the Vault’s plan felt so familiar when I remembered that it was done in the JLA under Grant Morrison with the Hyperclan/White Martians.

  2. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    As much as I like the Carey run, the Children of Tomorrow never interested me (apart from maybe Serafina who got that fake life with Cannonball) – until this mini. Camp is doing something interesting here. Shame that the civil war is only glimpsed on the data pages, but I am… I don’t want to repeat ‘interested’, so let’s go for something stronger.

    I am hooked.

  3. Rob says:

    I think the Ballerina represents his most guarded thoughts — Cable later says he now has all the schematics for the city — because Martillo’s also been hiding his love of dance from the rest of the Children.

    I was also confused by the blisters. I was thinking maybe it was a final line of defence/offence, like a cyanide pill, but contagious, which is why Cable boasts that he wasn’t even in the room for it to affect him.

  4. Jenny says:

    I suppose it could mean that it’s a branching timeline now, but though it says that this is the zombies here are from Earth 2149, it can’t be them outright; we know that Colonel America (that’s what he’s called in that stuff, don’t ask me) survives to have his brain ripped out by Red Skull later.

  5. Jeff says:

    This miniseries is rad. I think this is easily the strongest Fall of X storyline. Considering it seems to be the least connected to the actual event, I don’t totally know what that says about my opinion of the overall concept.

    Camp is doing a great job of writing Cable and Bishop as determined but not wallowing in misery. Frankly, it’s a lot of fun to just watch X-Men be cool and kick ass. The Children’s world building is interesting. Loved the four panels of Cable growing and then punching through Martillo. I think this is great stuff.

    The ballerina is definitely set up by the mention of Martillo’s secret love of dance and movement in the first scene. It’s Cable getting access to all of his secrets. I kind of assumed the physical wounds were just being manifested by him stuggling so much against Cable’s attack.

  6. Luis Dantas says:

    This is a quality book. I look forward to more Deniz Camp writing in the future.

    What is with Cable growing? Has that happened before? Is it that he got a Pym particles device at some point in the future? Is that a mental projection? Something else?

  7. Jeff says:


    They are in Martillo’s head at that point. It’s Cable’s psychic attack “hulking up” and beating down his defenses.

  8. Mike Loughlin says:

    When Bishop first appeared, I thought he was a cool character, but he had a lame power. I think it was stated outright that he could only absorb and redirect “bio-energy” or something- if Cyclops or Black Tom shot him with their power, he could blast them back, but he couldn’t absorb lasers from a mechanical weapon. Then, he absorbed and redirected a blast from an energy weapon during “X-Tinction Agenda” and that restriction (if it existed in the first place) was dropped.

    Eventually, Morrison had Bishop absorb psi-energy in “Murder at the Mansion” and now, in this issue, he’s deflecting energy sensors. I like this creative use of Bishop’s powers. Kudos to Deniz Camp for exploring a side to a long-time character’s abilities that hasn’t, to my knowledge, been used before.

  9. Gackthegack says:

    The blisters on Martillo’s face are caused by exposure to radiation, from the tactical nuke Cable uses to dispatch him.

  10. Michael says:

    @Mike Loughlin- No, Bishop’s power was always the ability to absorb energy. For example, in issue 287, we see Bishop being hit by a blast from a villain’s glove and he absorbs it, and another villain says you might as well have handed him your weapon.
    In fact, Bishop wasn’t introduced until after X-Tinction Agenda.(You might be thinking of a scene from X-Cutioner’s Song where Bishop absorbs energy from an energy weapon.)
    What you might have been thinking of with the bio-energy is Uncanny X-Men 292. The X-Men are fighting the Morlocks and Bishop is running out of energy. So Bishop says “Please don’t hit me with a bio-blast”, the Morlocks are dumb enough to hit him with a bio-blast and Bishop gets recharged. That wasn’t meant to suggest that Bishop could only absorb bio-energy- Bishop only said “bio-blast” because it was unlikely any of the Morlocks had a laser gun.

  11. Thom H. says:

    @Sam: It seems that Camp is explicitly using a lot of Morrison ideas in this series. The “heroes are secretly conquerors” storyline and benevolent floating city are lifted from their JLA run. And Martillo’s mindscape is lifted from New X-Men. It’s kind of fun to see Morrison remixed this way.

  12. Brandon says:

    @Gackthegack that is what I took the blisters for as well. Hence why we got the nuclear symbol show on the apparatus under the chair.

    This is interesting stuff: seeing someone actually moving forward on taking over the world with the power vacuum of the disappearing mutants. Orchis just seems to be staying in their lane while the Children are making moves. No clue if taking a sprint ahead of everyone will work out for them, however.

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