Judging by the preview Wolverine is knocking skulls so as to capture or subdue Serafina. Why is he after her, and what sort of threat does the Children of the Vault pose for the X-Men? Find out in this 5th issue that stands alone, while also building to a bigger story at large.
Leave it to Jonathan Hickman to tell one-shot style tales in the main X-Men book to lay out the various threats the X-Men will face in 2020 and beyond. It’s a bold move that has made this series feel disconnected, but also important every step of the way. This issue bookends well with a scene with Cyclops and he’s not pleased with what he has been involved with. It’s a storytelling mechanism that sets up expectations and increases your interest.
The meat of this issue involves the Vault, which Serafina slips into before Logan can nab her. If you’re not familiar, Serafina and the Children of the Vault aren’t humans nor are they mutants. They are an evolved species taking place over 6,000 years to become superhuman and their own thing. They’re a threat to humans and mutants both and it’s a big reason why Cyclops and his X-Men were trying to stop her from entering the vault and doing more damage. Much of this issue involves the plan to get Serafina out of the Vault and figuring out how to do that when whoever goes in might be trapped for thousands of years.
Hickman does a good job laying out the stakes by showing us what is in the Vault with art by R.B. Silva with colors by Marte Gracia and interesting computer type laid over a purple and black techno-dreamscape. I pondered if the Matrix was somehow an inspiration for this weird place inside a giant dead Sentinel, but regardless it’s a cyberpunk sort of sci-fi. The way Silva depicts the slumped over Sentinel the Vault resides in is quite unnerving like an ancient temple with hidden dangerous secrets. It’s further depicted as strange and inhuman when we see it in the light of Storm’s lightning. This is not a place you want to be and yet Cyclops is sending three of his best mutants into it. The colors add a lot the work from the strange techno landscape to the alluring purples behind the mutants as they discuss the plan on Krakoa.
This issue does well to capture the two sides of Cyclops. He’s a master strategist, which he displays on the mission at hand here, but also must take responsibility if things go wrong. He does his best, but even he can’t foresee how an attack will play out. His calm and resolve are well done here too with the bookended scenes.
Thanks to the data pages and text on the page inside the Vault this issue feels dense with detail. There are hints here and there that longtime X-Men fans can latch onto and disseminate. Fans will also be wracking their brains about three specific mutants who may be next scene in incredibly different ways if Xavier is right.
This is yet another good issue in the series that aims to detail something new in every issue while reminding us Cyclops is flipping awesome. He’s the glue that keeps this book together as the creators probe new threats for mutants and the X-Men to be fearful of going forward.