For the past two issues, I’ve praised the X-Men title for finally moving its plot along, kicking things into high gear and making the title feel actually important and necessary in the line. X-Men #8 feels like, for the most part, it’s ditched that forward motion and told another story that’s mostly fluff — but this one does something the other “fluff” chapters never did: it gives Synch a lot of time to shine.
Synch has been the hidden gem of Duggan’s X-Men, often getting interesting feats on page even if the story isn’t often from his point of view. In the past I lamented that Synch wasn’t getting more focus since he’s arguably the most interesting pick on this team after his days in the Vault. And X-Men #8 might not be entirely from Synch’s POV, but it does dedicate enough panel time to him that it feels like the story is finally acknowledging how interesting his character is.
The main plot with the X-Men fighting M.O.D.O.K is about as important as the Jean vs. Nightmare issue — it’s just an old fashioned comic book beat-em-up where they fight the bad guy. It doesn’t have much meat to it and that’s why there’s not much to say about it. The joy of this issue comes from the characters in it.
Synch and Laura finally interact again and Duggan actually addresses the Vault-shaped elephant in the room between them. It’s a nice scene that makes the reader actually feel for both characters and all they’ve been through. It’s awesome to see that finally be addressed between them and it does a lot for Synch’s character. In these scenes, we see how his emotions towards Laura make him feel, and he’s a really stand up guy with a good heart. When all the others are saying why they want to be X-Men, Synch is advocating for Laura to be one. It says a lot about him and how he cares about others but might overlook himself; if that doesn’t make you wanna hug Everett, I don’t know what will.
Synch and Scott also have a great moment together, giving readers the part of X-Men comics that we love most: characters on the same book helping each other out. The framing of this scene makes it seem like Scott checks in with him and the other members of his team a lot, acting like a mentor figure to the whole team. It does a lot for both characters, both in establishing what makes Scott such an effective leader (he actually cares about his team even off the battlefield) and Synch himself (who goes out of his way to help Scott, proving how selfless he can be).
The issue ends on a dilemma, making Synch wonder if its time to leave the X-Men. And honestly? I hope he doesn’t. I love his spot on this team and the ways it’s allowed him to showcase his powers and I loved his prominence in this issue, which really brought it to life. Hopefully he’ll get more chance to shine in the future and the next issues touch on why Synch belongs on this team, rather than why he doesnt.
Pepe Larraz’s art is beautiful as always, making every page come to life with his lively art. His art is expressive as it is grand, and that was able to help bring the emotional scenes to light as they deserve to be I can’t think of a better artist for this title than him.
X-Men #8 might not be the most plot-heavy title in the series, but it rightfully uses this break from the main plot to shine a spotlight on its characters. Synch hopefully gets his first of many spotlight issues in the future, laying out the groundwork for an arc for his character.
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