Another Apocalyptic X-position dump but, like, with cool helmets and stuff.
While this issue was basically in the exact same unfortunate vein as the last, there were a few scintillating highlights, so I’ll turn those to the light before re-covering my already-plowed ground.
The art was amazing. Mahmud Asrar is a master of his chosen form, and every panel of this issue was threaded with nuance and detail. The Helmet of Annihilation was beautiful and creepy all at once, there were countless echoes, within the architecture of Arakko, of the Krakoa we know, and I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen so much real expression on Apocalypse’s face. I could look at Asrar’s art, happily, for hours.
It was interesting (if predictable) that Apocalypse was considered ‘too weak’ by his family. It makes his determination to make Mutants stronger far more believable. But the easy psychology of Hickman’s choice, while superficially adequate, falls apart under the weight of any scrutiny. It undoes all of the work that this era has done for him to reduce his drive to a mere inferiority complex.
Placing Mutants, as a separate race from humanity, dating back centuries, needlessly complicates the story of the X-Men. How are they ‘the next step in human evolution’ if they’ve been around as a separate thing from the beginning of the species? Why are they born to regular humans at all? This retcon obfuscates the entire line.
Genesis, for her part, seems interesting. It will be fun to find out what has happened to her after millennia of wearing (being possessed by) the mask of Annihilation.
It will also be interesting to see how the third reflections of Krakoa (the priest and the warrior from Annihilation’s realm) are going to ‘test’ the other realms involved in this fight.
Now all of this was very interesting, but the issue is still an infodump, designed to fill in the backstory so that the other books will have to do less work. This is frustrating (if not infuriating) because editorial has already stretched this story out to about twice the length it should be, creating a great many filler issues, in an effort to squeeze a bit more money out of their fans. This would have been a more pleasurable read, a better story, if this information had been woven into the other books in a more organic way. As it stands, it’s a frustrating read, saved only by the quality of Asrar’s art.
This is a frustrating infodump of an issue, partially redeemed by exquisite art.
X-Men #13: Family Ties (X of Swords Part 10)
Writing - 6/106/10
Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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