The number of enemies you have directly affects your general well being unless of course, you’re the X-Men. Over the course of the last 7 issues, Jonathan Hickman has introduced new threat after new threat seriously making mutants on Krakoa less safe than mutants may have ever been in existence. Enter issue #8 this week where we find yet another threat on their doorstep. Marvel has released its History of the Marvel Universe and in it, we learn the latest threat is nearly as old as most anything in the universe. That’s right, it’s the Brood’s time to shine!
This book feels very much like it’s preparing us for Empyre in a few weeks. There are key alien races present, but also a sense of direction for a few of the familiar New Mutant characters who recently got back from space. It’s also calling attention to three characters: Gladiator, Vulcan, and Black Bolt. Each of these characters has new and old reasons for being important and in figuring out those reasons you once again will find yourself trying to uncover what Hickman’s big plans are. It’s exciting to think about how so many adversaries could play into future plans in the X-Men line.
This is also a great action comic. Mahmud Asrar kills it on Brood vs. mutant action and Hickman places a lot of fan-favorite characters in their path. Cyclops continues to look fabulous kicking ass and remaining calm too. Arsrar is very good at scale. We’ve seen it in Conan the Barbarian and we see it again here. The expanse of the universe is grand and Asrar makes you feel that empty expanse. Color artist Sunny Gho does a wonderful job with the space backgrounds and allowing the shadow work to add volume to everything. Great stuff.
Plotting is a clunky affair in this issue. It’s all well and good until about 2/3rds into the book where we shift away from Brood and onto other matters. Scheduling likely plays a part in this–the Brood could have easily filled one issue and the final scenes another–but it remains a bit awkward in its pacing thanks to this plotting. This series had typically had a one-shot feel and this issue diverges from that.
X-Men has never felt so footloose and fancy-free. It’s an excellent series backed up with more ideas than you can possibly wrap your head around. The future of X-Men is bright and it’s thanks to a treasure chest of ideas that is endless.
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