While Immortal X-Men #9 might not be as revelatory as previous issues, seeing Gillen continue to line up the dominoes for the upcoming Sins of Sinister crossover remains a delight, not to mention a welcome return from Lucas Werneck in the art department.
Mild spoilers ahead for Immortal X-Men #9!
Opening with Kate Pryde aka Red Queen narrating the latest session of the Quiet Council in a post-Judgment Day context, the tone quickly changes as Mr. Sinister enters the scene and attempts to assassinate Hope Summers. Exodus dispatches him swiftly thanks to a prompt tip from Destiny, and the Council is left disappointed and stunned (but not truly surprised) by Sinister’s betrayal.
This opening sequence, along with the four-page flashback that follows, set up the Groundhog Day tilt of this issue, in which Sinister attempts a total of 10 times (Get it? Moira X, 10 lives, 10 attempts? Eh? Eh??) to take out the membership of the Quiet Council, to varying degrees of success. These shots at the Council are rendered in gloriously gory detail by Werneck, capturing the Council’s various abilities in action just as well as Sinister’s nigh-imperceptible shifts between bloodthirsty supervillainy and sassy, mustache-twirly campiness.
As the closest thing there is to a layperson on the Council, Kate’s perspective of the events unfolding throughout the issue initially left me underwhelmed. However, upon re-examining and acknowledging that any time loop situation would likely leave those involved in said situation (especially when the involved persons are unaware that they are in a time loop) more than a little confused, I see that Gillen effectively captures the sheer ludicrousness of watching one’s co-workers (or perhaps co-conspirators? co-councilors?) die in increasingly violent ways.
When Kate is not narrating, however, Gillen effectively shows just how villainous Sinister really is, even in this Krakoan age; whether through the increasingly desperate methods of murder he concocts for the Council, or the chimeras that reside in his domain, it should come as no surprise that Sinister’s ultimate loyalty remains to Sinister, and that there are seemingly no limits to his criminality and creativity. Further, a callback to HOX/POX even has him remarking on how he is just as responsible for this latest paradise as Charles, Erik, Moira, or any of those who contributed to Krakoa’s genesis and continued success. Much like Destiny and Mystique, Sinister clearly has no qualms about upending the apple cart (if not outright destroying it with all manner of genetic monstrosities) for his own…sinister (ha) ends.
On the other hand, though, this issue of Immortal continues a mild running frustration I’ve had with the series. While the approach of highlighting a single Council member per issue makes for interesting perceptions of the varying situations that the Council finds itself in, the fact that the story still has to progress outside of the POV character’s scope can limit the unique feeling of each chapter. For example, since most of this issue is a time loop, readers really only get Kate’s perspective of “one” event at least 6 different times (until the end, at least), while the rest is devoted to Sinister’s continued scheming. This is, however, made up for a little by Kate taking command in the final pages of the issue.
A handful of other interesting items in this issue:
- It’s cool seeing Kate casually use her phasing to walk across the Council chambers to talk directly to Exodus. I thought Werneck had made an artistic error when I first spotted it, but rereading shows that it’s really just a thoughtful way of touching up a (predominantly) dialogue-heavy scene.
- That Sinister (and by extension, the reader) still doesn’t really know Stasis’ endgame is…curious.
- Fun “Easter egg” for readers that are also currently reading Wolverine and/or X-Force.
- The distraction mentioned in the secondary data page will likely turn up in the issue of X-Men: Red after this week’s. Interested to see what Ewing does with “mercenaries”.
Overall, Immortal X-Men continues to be an entertaining read, even if not having all of the answers is becoming increasingly frustrating. The next issue is set to follow Professor X, meaning the only council members left after will be Storm and Colossus. Given that Storm essentially has an entire book to herself (written by Al Ewing, no less), I’m marginally less interested in Gillen’s take on her than I am keen to see him (exclusively) write Colossus. Especially since I wonder if the thread about Colossus being a sleeper agent for Mikhail is ever going to be picked up.
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