Since there aren’t any new comics out this week – except digital first releases – here’s some reviews for last week’s Dawn of X titles. Along with new issues of X-Men and Wolverine, last week also saw the release of Hellions #1 and the latest Giant-Sized X-Men one shot. Over-all it was a good week for X-Men comics, with a standout first issue debut by Hellions.
Giant Sized Nightcrawler #1:
Hickman’s latest Giant-Sized X-Men one-shot is a haunted house story that sees a mutant team led by Nightcrawler return to the Xavier Institute, now somewhat destitute. The Dawn of X architect pens an entertaining, science fiction influenced “ghost” story that reconnects the X-Men’s future with the team’s past. Despite the move to Krakoa, Hickman’s story emphasises the significance of the X-Mansion, both historically and in the present. There are some interesting moments that reference Nightcrawler’s history with the X-Men that are beautifully drawn by Alan Davis.
No other artist in the business draws figures and facial expressions quite like David. Also, considering the thematic nature of the story, Davis was a perfect choice to draw the issue due to his history with the Nightcrawler character.
My one major criticism of Giant-Sized Nightcrawler is that the story feels lite despite it being an over-sized comic. It reads too quickly — which is odd considering how dense Hickman’s comics usually are. The extra pages allow Davis’ art to shine, but they feel wasted on a story that could have been told using the average page count of a Marvel comic. Still an enjoyable reading experience over-all.
Rating: 35 – Okay
Wolverine’s solo series continues to explore the darker aspects of Krakoa; primarily the negative implications their advanced pharmaceuticals have for humanity. While recovering both physically and emotionally from the events of Wolverine #1, Logan continues to hunt down the Flower Cartel with a new ally.
Wolverine #2 is a quality page-turner because Percy knows how to effectively write crime-thrillers. The mix of narrative tension and mystery surround the Flower Cartel keeps readers engaged as Percy’s script takes its time fleshing out this new corner of the X-Men’s world, and the character of Wolverine.
One improvement Wolverine #2 makes from the series first issue is working in smaller character moments for Wolverine. The first chapter of Flower Cartel was plot-driven and as a result came off as a generic crime-thriller. Wolverine #2 goes deeper into Logan’s mind, offering the emotion depths the first issue only showed in the second story, ‘Catacombs’. For instance, Percy builds on Wolverine accidently massacring X-Force last issue with an emotional sequence that proves character deaths can still have meaning despite the resurrection protocols introduced by Hickman in House of X.
Adam Kubert’s art is great — especially his page layouts that layer the panels on top of each other. This layering of panels creates a lot of energy on the page, even in quite moments. The muted colour palette adds a dreary atmosphere that compliments Percy’s script.
Rating: 45 – Good
The conclusion to the space faring story that began in X-Men #8 is a fun, tense sci-fi adventure that reminds one of the classic Shi’ar stories penned by Claremont. On top of being a solidly written sci-fi story, X-Men #9 adds a new dimension to a long-standing X-Men enemy that I predict will come into play quite heavily as Dawn of X continues. The hunt for the King Egg is just another example of Hickman being additive to the X-Men mythology, creating new ideas or at the very least pushing old ones in new directions. X-Men #9 is, however, far from perfect.
The set-up nature of Hickman’s two-part story won’t appeal to every reader – though I do think Hickman’s ideas still make X-Men #9 a worthwhile read. Hickman’s script also feels rushed, as the second half speeds through some interesting plot points to get the issue’s status quo changing ending.
Visually X-Men #9 is stunning. Leinil Francis Yu’s art is great, and his excellent sense of design has done wonders for this series. Whatever crazy idea Hickman can conceive; Yu executes with stunning visuals.
Rating: 35 – Okay
Hellions #1 is a fantastic read. The series is about a group of troubled mutants led by Mister Sinister and Psylocke with the intent of assimilating them into Krakoan society. It’s a great concept to work with, and writer Zeb Wells knocks it out of the park. Not only does Hellions #1 explore the more complicated parts of the X-Men’s new mutant Utopia, it also plants seeds of conflict between the higher ranks of the island.
Sinister’s plan for the troubled mutants — Wells picked an excellent cast of characters – is noble in the surface. Assembled before Sinister is a group of murderers, criminals, psychopaths, and emotionally damaged characters. Under the seemingly repentant villain they are to perform tasks that will make them productive citizen. The proposal made by Sinister to the Quiet Council clearly has ulterior motives as its core, which is made very clear in Hellions #1’s surprising last page. Sinister’s manipulative nature and the teams’ volatile line-up results in a tension filled opening issue that should captivate any reader.
Wells’ sharp writing allows each character to shine in a debut issue that balances wacky humor and emotionally heavy character arcs quite well. The team introduction sequences establish the inner conflict behind each character quite well, with Scalphunter proving to be the most intriguing character of all.
Wells’ dialogue is well-written, particularly when he writes Hickman’s flamboyant Mr. Sinister. Though they only have a brief interaction in Hellions #1’s closing pages, I look forward to Well’s exploring Sinister and Psylocke’s dynamic in future issues. They are very different individuals, but both understand the necessity of moral ambiguity.
I’m becoming quite the fan of Stephen Segovia. The artist impressed with his work on another Dawn of X title, X-Force, and brings his high-quality visual storytelling to Hellions #1. Segovia’s pacing is impeccable, his panel compositions are dynamic, and the line-work is entrancing. If I had to pick one stand-out moment from Segovia’s art, it would his excellent character acting in the scene that introduced Scalphunter. It was a powerful moment that was brought to painful, vivid life by Segovia’s pencils.
Rating: 55 – Great