Knights of X is the kind of X-Men comic fans have been hoping for and have waited far too long to acquire. It dares to deliver the fantasy, the weird, and the queer all in one package with exciting action. Crafted by Tini Howard and Bob Quinn, the latest issue reels from the death of Gambit but finds some hope in these mutants and their close bonds with each other.
Knights of X #4 opens with King Arthur attacking Captain Britain and her people. Losses occur in war, but the enemy doesn’t stop coming. Howard and Quinn make that very clear in the chaos of war, and Quinn captures many characters in every panel. Many are in danger, and the book opens with a heightened sense of danger. Characters like Kylun, Rictor, and Meggan have to pull themselves together and save themselves, even with Gambit’s corpse lying there for all to see.
Through all that chaos, readers will be honed in on Rachel and Captain Britain. They connect for a brief moment early on, which suggests their undying care for each other may be more. And there will be by the end of the issue.
Much of this issue is devoted to a swampy land where characters must contend with their deepest and innermost self. Think The Neverending Story, only the mud is red and everyone, including the strong-willed, falls prey to it. In this sequence, different characters battle aspects of themselves interpreted by threats. It’s a smart way to tap into each character’s darkest thought.
Essentially, Howard uses this swamp to push characters to the brink, not knowing if those they care most about may be lost forever. It leads to a moment where we finally see Betsy Braddock and Rachel connect on a real and romantic level. X-Men fans have been teased for a long time with possible relationships between queer characters, and it’s nice to see them follow through for once.
I have a few nitpicks, though. I can’t say many of these characters are the most popular so far, nor has Otherworld panned out to be all that interesting. The chaos of war is interesting enough for a little while, but with most of this issue focused on that and not progress between characters in conflict, it feels a bit light on content.
Colors by Erick Arciniega take a darker approach on Otherworld due to it being night, but the swamp is also dark and macabre. The skies depict the doom of it all well.
Letters by Ariana Maher are clean and easy to read. I particularly like when she uses long tails on her word balloons. That effect seems to add a little extra drama to the words.
As a character-focused drama, Knights of X #4 adds satisfying wrinkles as we explore the innermost self of these characters. Representation matters, especially in X-Men comics, and Knights of X delivers.
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