When X-Men #6 was announced, Captain Krakoa was all over Marvel’s Twitter page and he was the main topic of solicits. But now that X-Men #6 is out, it’s clear that Captain Krakoa himself is rather uninteresting, but the story around him is fascinating. But the Captain Krakoa antics are by far the least interesting part of X-Men #6 — no, the real show-stealer is the mutants’ space race with humans heating up. And that is what makes X-Men #6 feel like it actually matters.
X-Men, for the last five issues, has mostly felt like a filler comic. I’ve questioned its need to exist so many times, and though I still have plenty of problems with the premise (why would you remove these mutants from Krakoa, severing their connections to their most interesting character relationships?), when I read X-Men #6, I don’t feel like the issue is useless or filler. It feels like Duggan is starting to get the ball rolling and the plot he’s slowly weaving is actually quite interesting. X-Men #6 might be the best issue of this series thus far for that reason.
SPOILERS AHEAD for X-Men #6!
First thing’s first: yeah, we all knew Captain Krakoa was Scott. He started to replace Cyclops on the covers for future books and that just made the whole thing obvious. Plus, with Ben Urich finding out Scott was dead in previous issues, it was easy to deduce that this would be Scott’s new identity to hide his resurrection from the public. And…yeah, it seems that’s the direction they’re going in.
Pepe Larraz is an amazing artist and his character designs are almost always stunning and iconic — but boy, Captain Krakoa is an eyesore. His design is a rare L for Larraz but at the same time, I don’t doubt that Scott Summers would pick the ugliest superhero outfit imaginable so…it is what it is.
The Ben Urich/Scott Summers stuff is what made this book run for the first five issues and it’s still one of the highlights, especially now that things are heating up. Seeing Scott interact with the Council is always a joy to read, but I also wish we got more one on ones with Scott and these characters in this title. I’d love to see him interact with Charles, Emma, Storm, or even Kate outside of their positions on the Council. Scott’s one of the most connected mutants out here and several of the Council characters care deeply for him. When I read these interactions I’m pleased, but I still want more. It’s a strength as much as it is a weakness for the title because it stresses my previous point that the New York setting is detrimental for these characters in a way, stripping their most interesting dynamics from them.
While the Ben Urich plot is starting to get really interesting, the real highlight of the book is the space race between mutants and humans. It’s really heating up in this issue, especially in Sunfire’s panels. Sunfire is actually, in my opinion, the real star of this issue because he gets the most interesting stuff to do. And in a title like X-Men, Sunfire is actually one of the characters I’m most interested to read anyway. Scott, Jean, Lorna, Rogue — they’re all great characters, but we’ve been reading them pretty consistently for years. Sunfire was one of the most interesting additions to the team because we haven’t seen him star in a book in ages and this is a good start for what I love to see in this title.
A book like X-Men doesn’t need to make me care about Scott (he’s already my favorite character ever), but it does need to show us what’s so awesome about characters like Shiro and Synch, who never get the spotlight. And I hope this is a sign of what’s to come, giving Shiro more content and more chances for readers to get attached to him. It is a downside, however, that Synch still hasn’t gotten a big role in this title. X-Men #6 can’t do it all and it can’t be overstuffed, but I still find myself hoping Everett will get his chance to shine too — if Jean and Lorna could get issues focused around them, why can’t Synch?
X-Men #6 is a big step in the right direction for this title, getting the ball rolling on a few plots and finally making the book feel important in the line. Hopefully, the title continues with this trajectory moving forward.
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