X-Men: Red #7
With the team split between Atlantis and the mission to recover the deceased ambassador’s phone, the Red team finds itself beset on all sides by enemies, courtesy of Cassandra Nova’s machinations. Jean, Gentle, Storm, and Namor find themselves in Atlantis combatting the young Teen Abomination that Cassandra dropped on Atlantis in the last issue, but with stellar teamwork, the young man is dispatched quickly. The airborne phone retrieval mission did not go quite as smoothly, however, as the newly appointed ambassador has already been implanted with a nanite sentinel and opens fire through the cabin into the cargo bay, striking Trinary. The wound, though not fatal, did cause Trinary to lose control the team’s Sentinel, which then nearly caused the plane crash, were it not for quick first aid getting Trinary back on her feet.
Once the two teams are reunited, Jean broadcasts the information gained from the phone, along with crucial information regarding Nova and her plans, worldwide. “I know some of you, faced with this truth, will choose not to believe it. The X-Men will fight for you anyway.”
Following a near perfect issue in X-Men: Red #7, this issue felt both rushed and static at the same time. That is to say that the completion of both missions in this single issue (saving Atlantis and retrieving the phone) seemed to force both sequences to become truncated, however, the completion of neither mission served to push the overarching narrative forward very much. There is almost a sense that the team has grown slightly too much in a short amount of time, and while the team dynamic is absolutely fascinating, there is a growing sense that perhaps not all of the characters have enough breathing room for growth. For instance, Storm, one of the most historically dynamic figures in the X-Mythos, felt flattened in this issue, only having a brief moment of essentially an X-Men: The Movie reduction (“Do you know what happens to a toad when it gets struck by lightning?”).
If there was an issue with the textual pacing, however, the image pacing was there to counter-balance it quite spectacularly. Carnero continues to impress with her wide-screen action sequences, be it by land, sea, or air. This issue featured a number of poster-worthy moments, but what struck me most was the deliberateness of the layouts. The issue is dominantly designed with traditional page layouts alternated with wide-screen layouts, making the moment in which the Sentinel falls towards the plane, which Carnero accents with the single, tilted image of the cockpit between the loss of control and the moment of contact, stand out even more as a narrative function.
Apologies to Tom Taylor if I came off as overly critical today. He has set the bar extremely high with absolutely stellar storytelling thus far, so it is his own fault, really!
X-Men: Red #7: Connection Lost
Writing - 7/10
Storyline - 7/10
Art - 10/10
Color - 10/10
Cover Art - 10/10
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