X-Men Red #11
After the turmoil of SoS, and the continuing crisis within the council, Storm is finally taking some time to herself. Pity Xavier won't let her enjoy it.
Ewing has, once again, proving that he understands his characters. Storm, Roberto, and Xavier are all fully realized and human. Storm and Xavier have always had a complex relationship that is as much defined by the former’s abuses as by his mentorship. I don’t believe this relationship has ever been explored as fully as it is in this book.
After Xavier summons Storm, intruding on an intensely private moment, he demands to hear Magneto’s final words. When Storm (obeying her fallen friend’s wishes) refuses him, Charles attempts to force his way into Storm’s mind. Storm recognizes this betrayal as a reflection of the fact that Xavier has only ever been ethical. The moment a person ceases to conform to his will willingly, he will cast ethics aside and force the issue because his hubris is so incredible that not only does he believe that he is always right, he believes that he is entitled to alter the identities, the minds, and hearts, of the people to whom he feels the closest. He underlines this by refusing to honor Magneto by the name that he has chosen. This is true when he whistles for Storm, expecting her to drop everything and run to his side like a dog. This is true even (and especially) when his own identity is at its shakiest.
Xavier has proven, time and again, that he is willing to batter Storm into a shape that he feels is more appropriate to her, telling her over and over again that her sense of self is wrong, that her identity is incorrect, that he (a straight, cis, white man) has the right to define who and what she is and her role in the world.
And The Goddess has finally had enough of his bullshit.
Xavier reads, in this instance, like every cis ‘ally’ a trans or nonbinary person has ever had who will support their identity only as long as it is convenient for them. Xavier reads like every white person who tries to tell a Black colleague how it is ‘appropriate’ to act. Xavier does not come off very well and receives an appropriate judgment.
The scene in which Storm forces Xavier out of her mind, slamming the door on him with tomb-like finality (using the technique he taught her), is among the most satisfyingly rendered double-page spreads in X-Men history. It’s a beautifully constructed scene, using panels from the characters’ long history melded together in a collage that recontextualizes certain specific events. It’s got the literary power of a top-rate erasure poem and effective work.
As for the rest of the art, this issue was not up to the usual standard I’ve grown to expect from this series. Caselli’s art was as lovely as ever, but Jocapo Camigni’s work (although pleasant) didn’t mesh with it as effectively as one might prefer. This wasn’t the fault of either artist. They’re both extraordinarily skilled. But it’s fair to say they’re much better when working
The characterizations in this issue are among the best in X-History. This is the Goddess at her absolute best — and Xavier at his very worst.
X-Men Red #11: What’s In A Name?
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 9.5/109.5/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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