Dawn of X Vol. 14 is an odd collection of issues from the tail end of the first Hickman era of X books. I’ve greatly enjoyed the direction the line has occupied the since House of X, and there are some standout character moments collected in this book that would reward any comic reader. Having said that, this trade also demonstrates the limitations of this current reprinting model.
Dawn of X Vol. 14 collects Empyre: X-Men #3-4, X-Men #11, Wolverine #4, X-Factor #2 from their 2020 respective runs. Nearly half the issues are Empyre tie-ins, with the tail end of the X-Men mini represented here, as well as Hickman’s single main book connection to the larger Marvel event. The X-Men line, busy with its own Krakoan narrative, thankfully only tangentially joined in the larger cosmic conflict, and the issues collected here are enjoyable in that they actually focus on X characters dealing with conflicts on the edge of the event. The Empyre issues give room for Wanda Maximoff to confront her lingering conflict with mutantkind, while giving Magik and Nightcrawler action to tend to on Krakoa as swarms of zombies uncover resurrection. Hickman’s love for Magneto is given yet another spotlight, as issue #11 focuses on the importance and impact he has on a new generation of mutants, with Exodus working to build Erik’s spiritual and transcendent aura. It is celebratory of the Magnus we have come to love, while underpinning the protracted cult-like apprehension developing in Krakoa.
Wolverine #2 and X-Factor #2 are both very fine issues, but don’t connect to the other issues represented here. I love the art by Viktor Bogdanovic and Matthew Wilson in Wolverine — it has a ’90s energy and dynamism, perfectly capturing the Logan many readers know and love. Wolverine even gets a wonderful moment with Magneto, noting the fact that the ex-villain once ripped out his adamantium skeleton. It’s a nice touch and reminds readers that having all mutants side by side, regardless of their previous crimes against others, is going to produce some social challenges for the new nation.
Leah Williams’ X-Factor run is one of my favorite comics being published at the moment. She has found an interesting approach to the current X-line by giving a handful of B and C level characters room to shine and interact. Additionally, Williams understands the mutant metaphor better than most, and is injecting current social and political dynamics into the line without being heavy-handed with her scripting. This specific issue brings us back to the Mojoverse, updating it for the modern era in a clever and terrifying fashion.
While each issue represented here was enjoyable, the grouping does call into question this current model of reprinting issues. I have been on the record as being in support of this approach (collecting issues published across a line into a single trade soon after their initial newsstand release). By this point, if you are still on board with this line of trades, it may not be a problem that you get only odds and ends from different titles and not a collection of coherent stories. Ideally, this Dawn of X collection would include the entire Empyre: X-Men mini and Hickman’s single mainstay tie-in; it would then allow for the next volume to focus on the contrasting single issues from other books in the line. As it stands now, you would need to buy another trade just to get the first portion of a single four issue mini-series, which doesn’t seem to make sense editorially.
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