The Quiet Council et-al clear up the aftermath of X of Swords. Or at least they throw them all into a pile.
This issue was the usual Hickman Exposition Dump, dedicated to summarizing and outlining the problems which will be dealt with over the Reign of X. Unlike previous issues, this one was fun to read, and it actually propelled the story forward, so it was easier to forgive. The characters had actual character (one well-placed panel was enough to remind the audience that Mystique has not stopped thinking about her wife for one damned minute, for example) and their voices seemed to reflect who these people actually are.
This was also the first issue of X-Men to actually focus on the group of heroes as an organization. We learned what this new iteration of the team is for, and which of the other books will be providing the members. Members of the Quiet Council will be exempt, as befits the nature of the team, but it does mean that those of us Nightcrawler fans are going to be disappointed for a while longer as this is one more book he won’t be in.
So, here’s a spoilery summary of the things we learned in this issue. Skip past the bullet points if you want to avoid:
- Arakko and Krakoa, as individuals, don’t want to get back together.
- The Arakkan leaders are all omegas and they don’t want to join with a ‘weak’ nation.
- The X-Men will be unaffiliated with The Quiet Council, fighting for the citizens — even if their goals are in opposition with the QC.
- Iska The Unbeaten is a contemptuous hard-ass, and I am a little in love with her. Ok, that’s not a spoiler, per se, but I want to make it clear that she is my bossy girlfriend and you all can’t have her.
If you’ve skipped the spoiler, please know that this book is very much worth picking up. A large part of the charm of this issue was down to the artwork of Phil Noto. His lush colours and clean lines belie the incredible level of personality and depth he lends to these characters. This goes far beyond the baseline requirement for individuality that I have for other artists (not every woman has exactly the same face. Looking at you, Marcus To), not only does everyone have a face that is appropriate for their character (Storm looks like a mature, regal woman. Nightcrawler is sharp-featured, with a demonic bent, but he nevertheless appears kind, Jean looks intelligent) but the backgrounds are detailed enough to seem like a real, functional world. If you buy this only for the art, that’s more than reason enough.
In short, this issue rose high above it’s purpose. It’s well worth picking up.
With truly excellent art and pristine characterizations, this issue rose high above it's purpose. It's well worth picking up.
X-Men #16: Loose Ends
Writing - 9/10
Storyline - 7.5/10
Art - 10/10
Color - 10/10
Cover Art - 7.5/10
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