Immoral X-Men #15
250,000 mutants are trapped in a desert, being led through by a man of questionable faith, while a certain tattooed wannabe goddess is just aching to play the Devil during their privation.
Once again, Gillen has taken a theme that was previously tried by another author and done more with it, more effectively, than the person who originated the idea could ever dream. In this instance, he’s rehashing Mother Righteous’ plot from the spectacularly awful Nightcrawlers series, only without all of the sexism and with a sense of pacing that actually allows the plot to make sense.
Careful readers will remember the scene from the Hellfire Gala Special in which Mother Rigteous had transported one of Krakoa’s islands into one of the lamps which fuel her powers. It was established in a previous issue of Immortal X-Men I that she keeps small gods in her orbs and feeds them drips and drabs of worship in exchange for her powers. Setting up Hope as a god for her captive people will provide her with enough fuel to achieve dominion, and Exodus might just be the man to inadvertently bring her to her goal.
One thing that Gillen understands about faith as a concept is that it is beautifully irrational, in a Kantian sense. A would-be believer takes a blind leap into faith and then, once the leap is made, logic follows afterwards. A fanatic tries to stick the landing without ever really jumping off the damned cliff in the first place. Please remember that a fanatic (according to Jung) is merely a person who is overcompensating (often bloodily) for unadmitted doubt. A fanatic tries to prove that the things they profess are fact (and never-mind that faith is, by its nature, unprovable) and does so by inflicting their personal tenants onto everyone else. Faith, like art, carries a kind of truth that resists testing as firmly as it crumbles to nothing if a person tries to force it onto someone else against their will.
Exodus has been that fanatic before. And his inflexible false faith broke down, crumbled away, and revealed (through Hope) something much more lasting. He has a faith now that lasts because it is adaptable. He carries The Spark, and since Gillen understands what that really means, he knows that although this adaptability might make Exodus temporarily vulnerable to MR’s machinations, the spell won’t last long.
A leap into faith requires an acceptance that one is gambling with their soul. As Gillen (who really needs to be writing Nightcrawler) had Kurt Wagner say, during the Judgment Day event, “If I’m wrong, we die. What profits you if we die?” You gamble by throwing yourself into this vast, irrational void, and if you land on your feet you see something truly new and unexpected. You are remade.
Gillen is beautifully setting up Destiny to take such a leap herself, by breaking her down to her component parts. Destiny is blind, in every sense, for the first time in her life and this vulnerability is revealing the nature of what she really is – a terrified, paranoid, coward who is more concerned with her own skin than with anything else. Perhaps, after she is broken down, when she has nowhere else to flee to, she will leap, and become something new.
Paco Medina’s art is glorious. It’s rich and textured where it needs to be, but there’s room for some truly remarkable vistas. He shifts adroitly from action scenes to intimate moments as dexterously as a weaver plies their thread. David Curiel’s colors are bright and tonally appropriate, transforming every panel into a jewel.
This book is brilliantly done. It’s an adventure story, a political drama, and a finely wrought character study all at once. This is astonishing art.
This book is brilliantly done. It's an adventure story, a political drama, and a finely wrought character study all at once. This is astonishing art.
ICYMI! Immortal X-Men #15: Battle of the Cults
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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