FEAR THE CHILDREN! The Children of the Vault—hyper-evolved humans from a society whose time moves much faster than our own. Each time the X-Men defeat them, they retreat to their home, evolving further to a new, more advanced generation. This time, they will not be stopped so easily.
It’s the first official issue with the winners of the last election, minus the two issues for the ongoing AXE: Judgment Day event series, and there are a few spoilers here, but it’s not too bad. Spoilers aside, this is the issue that starts to pump up the steam on the Children of the Vault subplot that’s been brewing since the first issue of the previous volume by Hickman, so it’s nice to see them back again. We also get the new series artist, (at least I think he’s the new ongoing artist), in 2020’s Stormbreaker artist Joshua Cassara (X-Force, X-Lives of Wolverine fame), and we see his vision for the team.
This issue is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I’m not sure where Duggan’s going to go with the Children, but their portrayal here is rather…dull. The Children of the Vault are some very difficult characters to pull off, because Mike Carey went in when he created them, so if you use them, you need to bring in that type of energy, and I didn’t get that feeling from the Kids here. Also the Children should feel like an existential threat due to the way they evolve at an accelerated rate, but that’s not something that’s delivered here. I’m hoping we get a better understanding on who these characters are, especially for fans who are unfamiliar with them. Also Firestar’s dialogue. It’s just not great. Every time she opens her mouth, or someone is talking to her, the Avengers are brought up. Sure, being an undercover spy for the Avengers is her ongoing subplot, but it sounds like it’s already known by all of her teammates. It just reads awkwardly.
The highlight of the issue was Forge’s development. Forge has been one of those characters who has had very minimal development, despite being a character that’s 40 years old. We’ve seen some development over in Percy’s X-Force, but he was more like James Bond’s Q, and was there to provide the tech that this black ops team needed to fight back the forces that were trying to destroy Krakoa, rather than an actual part of the team. Here, we get some actual development, and he’s not just here to equip Cyclops, and the official roster of the tools, but an actual member. His and Cyclops’ convo conversation shows that he’s not just a yes-man, and how their opinion on Cyclops leaking the mutants’ resurrection protocols to the public, and that this will most likely lead to some internal conflict for the next year.
Joshua Cassara joins the crew with this issue, and his style is a rather stark departure from Larraz, and the other artists that we’ve seen over the last year and a half for this book, and it’s kind of a miss for me. Cassara’s style isn’t bad, it just doesn’t really match the tone that Duggan’s been going in since his run has started. The tone is rather muted, and the Children are just rather nondescript. I’m willing to give him some time to grow on me, as I did with his run on X-Force, but even then, it was more of a non opinion, than liking or disliking it.
It’s a bumpy start for the new team, with a rather lackluster handling of the adversaries, and schlocky dialogue for the regular cast. Giving Duggan the benefit of the doubt, but he’s got an uphill battle ahead of him.
X-Men #15: I Believe the Children Are the Future…
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 7.5/107.5/10
- Color - 7/107/10
- Cover Art - 7/107/10
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