Marvelous X-Men #4
Apocalypse's love-in wreaks havoc on London while Nate gaslights his mother and, for the first time in decades, the world knows murder.
As always, in this series, there’s a lot to dissect. I’ll focus on hitting the highlights in this review. To start with, the art was loaded with lovely little references to X-Men continuity, most strikingly (for me) the memory of Storm talking with Forge after losing her powers and Colossus’s first reunion with Kitty during Wheadon’s run. These were expertly chosen, emotionally resonant images that really lent weight to the narrative by reminding the viewers of everything, beautiful and terrible, that the characters have lost.
Readers who are absolutely missing the point of the series by finding fault with its (intentionally deliberate) pace, will be satisfied by the fact that there is indeed a lot of physical action in this issue. As my mother says, ‘things blow up real good’. These hypothetical readers might be less satisfied if they knew that the action mirrors some really excellent psychological devastation, but that kind of reader probably doesn’t pay attention to my reviews, so that doesn’t worry me.
By far the best part of this series, for me, has been the slow revelation of Nate as embodying the very worst variety of Toxic Masculinity. Nate is a misogynist who claims to be Woke. Look at what he’s done to Jean. He’s mind-wiped the most powerful psychic on the planet, hobbled her, gaslit and psychologically abused her enough for her to believe that she is absolutely dependent on him, and then he pretends to ‘forgive’ her for her ‘failings’.
He is doing this, he has made this whole world, so that everyone will be forced to view him as a whole and competent person, as the most whole person. It’s NOT coincidence that the person he’s abusing the most, the person he is controlling the most, is a version of his mother — the person who, in the most primal way, first defined him — at least on the level of genetics.
As for the rest of the story, as for the murder victim, my money is on one of the X-tremists rather than Colossus, but I’ll have to wait as long as the rest of you to find out.
With the combination of a fascinating premise, innovative art and perfect pacing, these creators deliver the penultimate issue of Marvel's most ambitious series. I have never loathed an X-Man villain as much as I despise Nate Grey. That, in itself, is a remarkable achievement.
Marvelous X-Men #4: Rise of the Gaslighting Incel
- Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
- Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10