This edition of Marvel’s Reign of X trades is a bittersweet affair. There are some fine single issues to enjoy from across the X-line, yet in-the-know readers will also note that a number of these books will meet an untimely end just a few issues later.
Like all the Dawn of X/Reign of X trades before it, this collection combines a few different issues from across the larger line that do not directly connect to each other narratively. It’s been an enjoyable way to explore the X-line, providing an ample view of the talent and variety found in this corner of the comic’s universe. Understandably, this collection will have a greater impact on those who have a sense of what is happening in other books not represented in this collection, as readers a left only with a window into the current era. With that in mind, there are some standout issues present here.
First, Wolverine under Benjamin Percy and Adam Kubert’s direction continues to be an excellent Wolverine storyline that could fit comfortably into any decade of the character’s existence. I love seeing Maverick back in action in this issue (#10), with Percy’s narrative direction giving the book a timeless feel, all while providing enough nods to the current status quo in Krakoa to not see this as removed from the larger epic. Kubert, as expected, does an excellent job penciling these issues and this trade is a reminder of the skill on display in this book.
Excalibur #17 is the densest comic in the bunch, with ample story to comprehend if you are to enjoy this work. Tini Howard’s endeavors to give this comic its own voice and presence in the line is praiseworthy, even when this single issue fails to grab my attention like some of the previous issues have.
Then, we hit a run of issues from books that have found their untimely demise in the recent reshuffle of the X-line. Cable #8 continues Gerry Duggan’s exploration of the young Cable, giving ample time to his relationship to Domino in this issue. Duggan’s work on the supplemental X-books during this time clearly had an impact, as his character-driven stories resonated with fans and plopped him onto the main title a few months back. This issue, beautifully illustrated by Phil Noto, perfectly presents this creative team’s vision and outlook.
X-Factor #6 and Children of the Atom #1 are hard to adequately comment on because of their abrupt cancelations. Leah Williams and Vita Ayala have been some of my favorite creators in the wake of Hickman’s shakeup a few years back, and it’s sad to see the narratives they clearly laid the foundation for in these issues dropped but a few months later. They look beautiful, and the love these storytellers have for the characters is on display in these issues. It’s simply difficult to determine their importance in the larger Krakoan era knowing that they will be dropped (at least for now) a few months later.
As with other volumes in this series, some of the variant covers are reprinted in the back of the book. Fans will appreciate the two-page spread for the Jim Lee version of Children of the Atom #1.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!