Marvel’s Reign of X collection of trades continue uninterrupted with this hodgepodge of issues published last year prior to the Inferno event. There isn’t anything here too mind-boggling in narrative scope, but the collection provides several solid issues from strong creative teams. Better yet, certain plot elements established in this trade are still relevant to the current books, making this a meaningful bit of recent lore.
Like all of trades in this series, you get a snapshot of random titles across the X-line. In this installment, we have Hellions #11, Wolverine #11-12, New Mutants #18, S.W.O.R.D. #5, and X-Factor #7. Zeb Wells and Stephen Segovia do some of their best work in the Hellions run, with Mr. Sinister’s ragtag group of mutants confronting Arcade and Mastermind. It has a great script and amazing art, and it makes me sad to know the book recently came to an end. The Wolverine issues by Benjamin Percy and Scott Eaton find Wolverine confronting Dracula and his coven of vampires with Omega Red in pursuit. If you are currently reading the X Deaths/Lives of Wolverine (and you should be), these issues directly connect to that current crossover. It’s action-packed and outlandish, but done with devotion and care for the character.
Both S.W.O.R.D. and X-Factor are issues deep into the creative team’s runs on these titles, but knowing that Al Ewing and Valerio Schiti will be continuing these galactic themes in the forthcoming X-Men Red, one can expect to see many of these ideas and characters developed in the future. Vita Ayala’s New Mutants is a jewel in the X-line, challenging what it means to be an outcast in a society full of mutants. The stylized art from Rod Reis gives the book a pitch-perfect presentation to Ayala’s character explorations, and the care given to examining characters like Cosmar and No-Girl has been exceptional.
I greatly appreciate the overall design of these trades; they have a consistent and minimalist visual approach–by Tom Muller–that is fitting in the Krakoan era. The Christian Ward cover art is splendid, and a few variant covers and sketches are included at the end of the book. The extras are nothing to write home about, but are a fine supplemental addition.
With Jonathan Hickman’s run ending a few months ago, many X-fans worried that the narrative arcs pursued by other creators in the X-line might be dropped to retool the line. Thankfully, recent X-books have built on the stories published here, making this collection worthy of exploration by readers enticed by the Destiny of X relaunch.
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