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Immortal X-Men #1
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Immortal X-Men’ #1 showcases the talents of its creative team

But its main character feels a bit Sinister…

Following the shocking revelations of Inferno, the X-Men have been going through a relative lull in storytelling for the past month. However, the debut of Kieron Gillen and Lucas Werneck’s Immortal X-Men marks a new chapter for Marvel’s mutants. Issue #1 teases upcoming politics and intrigue among Krakoa’s Quiet Council, all while looking back at the X-Men’s history.

Immortal X-Men #1
Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Immortal X-Men #1 is a return to the X-Men for Gillen, who led the extended run of Uncanny X-Men back in 2011. This issue contains multiple references that thread the line between now and then, as Gillen centers on the theme of mutant governance and the past failures of Utopia and Genosha. Immortal X-Men asks the question of whether Krakoa is any different from its predecessors, or is it also doomed to crumble to the ground? Over the course of the issue, Gillen reveals the diplomatic power struggle that has been borne from Moira MacTaggert’s dramatic banishment. The writing here is incredibly effective, as the back-and-forth between characters creates a palpable tension that would not be out of place in an Executive Office or Cabinet.

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Gillen and artist Lucas Werneck are by all means appropriate custodians of the political narrative established by Jonathon Hickman and Pepe Larraz in Powers of X/House of X. Together, the two manage to create something familiar, but also unmistakably new for the next period of Krakoa. This bridge is completed by colorist Daniel Curiel, as he shades the issue’s flashback segment with the same classic, spring green colors from Moira MacTaggert’s and Charles Xavier’s first encounter in Powers of X #1, before transitioning to a more modern color scheme for the contemporary Quiet Council.

Immortal X-Men #1
Courtesy of Marvel Comics

The cohesiveness of the creative team means that the pacing of Immortal X-Men #1 is just about perfect. It is rather impressive how the issue fits so much in without feeling cramped or rushed. Clayton Cowles plays an important part in all this—his balanced craft of dialogue bubbles and thought boxes allows Gillen’s and Werneck’s narrative to become almost rhythmic. Cowels’ lettering works particularly well with Werneck’s more comedic panels, which namely feature the issue’s point-of-view character, Nathaniel Essex AKA Mr Sinister.

Certainly, using Mr. Sinister as the central character for Immortal X-Men’s opening issue is not a surprising move from Gillen, who practically reinvented the character. This choice has as many pitfalls as it does advantages. Whilst Gillen’s take on Essex is undeniably entertaining, laughing along to him still feels uncomfortable. Prior to his total transformation, Mr. Sinister was an irredeemable eugenicist—an embodiment of pure evil who worked for the likes of the Nazi Party. The current Mr. Sinister is still indeed a eugenicist, but the more explicitly racist elements have been swapped out for more flamboyant and ostentatious personality traits. Though fun to read, this ‘new’ version of Mr. Sinister sometimes feels like the embodiment of evil, but now with a funny hat. Gillen attempts to address the character’s history within the issue, but he does it so flippantly, he would have been better off ignoring it completely. If you are going to address the fact that you have changed an in-text Nazi into a somewhat likable caricature, you should probably do it with some thought and reflection. Anything else feels close to disrespectful.

Immortal X-Men #1
Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Immortal X-Men #1 is an incredibly well-put-together opening issue that showcases the talents of its creative team. It consolidates what has come before it while promising exciting events for the future of Krakoa. Yet this narrative rupture goes beyond the story and outside the text, as the use of Mr. Sinister as the main character leaves much to be questioned.

Immortal X-Men #1
‘Immortal X-Men’ #1 showcases the talents of its creative team
Immortal X-Men #1
Immortal X-Men #1 is an incredibly well-put-together opening issue that showcases the talents of its creative team. It consolidates what has come before it while promising exciting events for the future of Krakoa. Yet this narrative rupture goes beyond the story and outside the text, as the use of Mr. Sinister as the main character leaves much to be questioned.
Reader Rating1 Vote
8.2
Well-written and illustrated, with a plot that captures the political intrigue of the Krakoan era.
Technically cohesive and smartly made.
The reinvention of Mr. Sinister still doesn't feel quite right.
7.5
Good
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