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'X-Men: Red by Al Ewing' Vol. 4 is an epic end to a great series  
Credit: Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘X-Men: Red by Al Ewing’ Vol. 4 is an epic end to a great series  

I wish all superhero comics could be this good.

I’d argue that Al Ewing has been the best writer at Marvel for at least the past five years. I certainly believe that X-Men: Red has been the best book out of the X-Office the past two years. But unfortunately, the series came to an end with issue #18. The last five issues are now collected in X-Men: Red by Al Ewing Vol. 4. With art by the fabulous Yıldıray Çınarare – as well as colors by Federico Blee and letters by Ariana Maher – the book is absolutely epic.

In the series, Ewing has chronicled the change in the lives and culture of the mutants from Arakko after they were finally freed from centuries of endless warfare at the end of the X of Swords crossover and their subsequent relocation to the now terraformed Mars during the inaugural Hellfire Gala. Unfortunately, Apocalypse’s long-lost wife and former ruler of Arakko, Genesis, has returned, sparking a civil war between those who want to go back to the former warlike ways and those who want to see Arakko thrive in peace.

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If those long sentences made no sense to you, well, then you understand the only real drawback of this collection. X-Men: Red by Al Ewing Vol. 4 is probably not best for newcomers. Ewing has been crafting this story now for over a year, taking bits and pieces of continuity from throughout the whole Krakoan-Era and fitting everything together to construct this finale. There are a lot of moving parts. You’d think, with such a limited number of issues, it could be too much.

The amazing thing is, Ewing makes everything work together wonderfully.

X-Men Red #16 Storm attacks Famine

Marvel Comics

He bases everything around the main protagonist, so even the most obscure subplots never drift too far away from the main focus. And there are few protagonists in the X-Men as captivating as Storm. Ewing writes her – and every character, actually – so well, with nuance, complexity, strength and honor. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone write Strom better than Ewing besides Chris Claremont during his famous Uncanny X-Men run.

Don’t get me wrong, certain supporting characters and certain subplots don’t get very much coverage. There was definitely more potential there. But Ewing does magic even with what limitation he’s been given. Everything feels fully realized, the world living.

At times, to work around the limited space for story, Ewing explains or summarizes quite a bit in copious exposition or whole pages of prose. Surprisingly, the practice doesn’t take anything away from the excellent pacing. Ewing writes the prose with a sense of poetry. And he uses lots of subtlety, revealing just as much in the subtext as in the actual text. It’s actually a pleasure to read.

X-Men: Red by Al Ewing Vol. 4

Marvel Comics

Of course, just as much credit goes to the stellar art of Yıldıray Çınarare. Every issue, almost every scene, includes some sort of fist-pumping or jaw-dropping moment. Each one hits perfectly not only due to Ewing’s masterful pacing, but also because of Çınarare’s epic images. Storm has never looked more beautiful, powerful and dangerous than in these issues. She does one amazing thing after another and we get to be there for it.

Furthermore, Çınarare constructs the pages and the images with such great execution. The page layouts are wonderful. Panel placement and image construction beautiful. Wider shots have such detail and dynamics that you can identify all of the main characters and see what they are doing. Closeups overflow with body-language and facial expressions. All around, Çınarare gives us some of the best art seen in a superhero comic book these days.

X-Men: Red by Al Ewing Vol. 4

Marvel Comics

I only have two small complaints I need to mention. First off, issue #13 should really be a part of this collection. It perfectly sets up the main conflict and the main characters of the civil war, serving as a great introduction to the story. Alas, it was included in Vol. 3. Second, although this collection concludes the X-Men: Red series, Ewing’s story with these characters goes on in the Fall of X mini-series The Resurrection of Magneto. So, make sure you pick that up, too, if you want to get the real end of the story.

In conclusion, X-Men: Red by Al Ewing Vol. 4 is an epic in nearly every way. Ewing concludes the series with an epic civil war to decide the future path of Storm and the mutants of Arakko. Yıldıray Çınarare complements the story with epic images that delight on every page. The combination of Ewing’s pacing and Çınarare’s art fill each issue with one epic moment after the other. I truly wish every X-Men comic could be this good.

'X-Men: Red by Al Ewing' Vol. 4 is an epic end to a great series  
‘X-Men: Red by Al Ewing’ Vol. 4 is an epic end to a great series  
X-Men: Red by Al Ewing Vol. 4
'X-Men: Red by Al Ewing Vol. 4' is an epic in nearly every way. Ewing concludes the series with an epic civil war to decide the future path of Storm and the mutants of Arakko. Yıldıray Çınarare compliments the story with epic images that delight on every page. The combination of Ewing’s pacing and Çınarare’s art fill each issue with one epic moment after the other.
Reader Rating1 Votes
9
One epic moment after the other.
Wonderful, beautiful artwork.
Great character work, especially with Storm.
Prose with a sense of poetry.
Not for newcomers.
Sometimes too many moving parts.
9
Great

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