X-Men for many people is a religious experience in itself. It represents the oppressed minority, the act of protest for something you believe in, and a select group of people who only have each other in a very cruel world. It’s something I mulled over while reading the latest issue by Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Francis Yu just as Cyclops mulls over a thing they call Crucible on Krakoa. Witness another example of Krakoa culture and a new way of life for mutants in X-Men #7, which sounds fascinating, but is it good?
Marvel Comics didn’t release a preview for the book this week, but did send this cryptic teaser:
— AIPT (@AIPTcomics) February 21, 2020
The teaser calls out the Crucible, which is an event that every mutant is preparing for. This adds some anticipation to the book and Hickman uses Cyclops as a surrogate for the reader as he attempts to figure out the Crucible’s purpose and whether or not it’s a good thing. We get to see him interact with a few different characters from different walks in his life including the highly religious Nightcrawler. Hickman does a great job making this narrative feel introspective and contemplative, for Cyclops, but by extension us. Mutants can never die now; is that a good thing? If there is a Heaven, and mutants never die, do they make Earth into Heaven? These questions and more are brought up and I found myself thinking philosophically on many of the ideas. It adds value to the book and changes your relationship with the content.
There are a lot of ideas outside of the Crucible that further complicate the series and the entire X-Men line of comics. Big ideas like the ability to put a mind into another mutant’s body–or even combine two mutant bodies into one–are broached, which further explore the immoral nature of never-ending life on Krakoa. We also get a hint at Scarlet Witch’s past actions which sheds some light on a bit more mutant history that’s still in canon.
Fans of the polyamorous angle should get a lot out of this issue. It is hinted at more than a few times Cyclops may be dating multiple people and even Logan could be factored in. Krakoa is all about love and making more mutants so it stands to reason these elements would be so normal nobody even talks about it. It’s clearly teasing the reader at the same time though, with no definitive answers as to who is with who, but I’d say that lets fans enjoy it all the more.
Art by Yu and colors by Sunny Gho are quite strong. The probing nature of Cyclops asking questions is captured well with aptly timed close-ups and beats in the story that let you take in his contemplation. The angelic and weighty nature of the story is felt throughout too. There’s a fantastic panel of Nightcrawler looking up at a spiritual place and the battle that ends the book is filled with delicious tension. Cyclops’ visor is sadly inconsistent though (there’s a bulge in the middle for one scene then later it’s back to being straight across), but save for that it’s a pretty perfect comic visually. You will feel the weight on Apocolypse’s shoulders and the darkness that resides in him.
X-Men #7 is an example of how comics can transcend past expectations and become something deeply moving and thought-provoking. This issue offers up many interesting ideas, some of which may stick with you long after you read it.