Empyre has taken over Marvel Comics, which usually means a few issues connect to the event but don’t really add much to it. Not so with X-Men #10 by Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Francis Yu. This issue focuses heavily on Scott Summers’ often undercooked brother Vulcan, who has a fire within him literally and figuratively. That fire is used in an interesting way, but this issue is really about how that fire was tamped down when for the longest time he was a supervillain.
Hickman does a good job weaving Vulcan’s internal turmoil into the bigger story of Empyre with real ramifications on both Vulcan and the event. That makes this a winner of a book since it economically touches on both elements. Fans who want to go deeper should note this ties back to Deadly Genesis and FF (also by Hickman), but there’s enough here for casual fans to dig into too.
There are a few things going on at once in this narrative, first of which is Vulcan’s anger that ties into an inner turmoil explained. Another is how Krakoan mutants just want to party. Finally, these elements congeal into a confrontation on the Moon that leaves a lot of alien plants dead. Hickman has essentially used the tie-in to show off some of Vulcan’s rage, which should pay off later when his anger comes up again.
The art by Yu is solidly done throughout with some fantastic imagery of the Moon and the plant life that now lives on a section of it. There is a laugh-out-loud moment that intensely utilizes the absence of space and the reputation of panels that everyone should check out. Yu is also great at capturing the seeming calmness of Vulcan, but when the rage fires up it is real and felt. There is a lot of atmosphere in this book thanks to Yu’s inks, but also Sunny Gho’s colors which add weight onto Vulcan’s shoulders, or darkness not immediately obvious via the words not he page.
One thing the X-Men line has done well is showing how mutants let their hair down. They aren’t fighting in battles and wars every other second, which allows for interesting sociological moments to further express the character’s lives and personalities. This issue is no different. Vulcan is a character that has a shoddy past to be perfectly frank, but X-Men #10 does a lot to capture the humanity and complexity lying in wait inside of him.