X-Men: Red #8
Cassandra Nova unleashes swarms of Sentinites in an attempt to flood major world population centers with anti-mutant hysteria, but not if the Red Team has anything to say about it! Each X-Man collected by Jean over the previous seven issues (with the exception of Namor) joins forces in order to distract Nova from interfering while Trinary unloads every bit of negativity she has been able to extract from the internet and overload the Sentinites, thwarting Nova's plan... for now.
In retaliation for her defeat (Storm unloading a tidal wave on Nova's Genosha home base to disrupt Nova's psychic intrusions below), Nova activates yet another sleeper agent to ruin Jean's day-- Rachel Summers!
In the beginning, the biggest knock I saw on X-Men: Red was how bizarre the team makeup was, and to be perfectly honest, while I appreciated the chemistry the characters seemed to have with each other, I was also confused as to why this particular group of mutants was selected. Wonder no more, dear readers, because it would appear it was always building to this moment, in which this ragtag group of X-Men would need every member of this team working in unison to combat a 21st century threat with 21st century means.
Trinary, whose power is the ability to essentially speak with machines, is the actor. Tasked with speaking with countless machines threatens to tear her mind apart, which Jean counters by psychically linking her to Gabby at first, and later Gentle and Laura. While they operate on the frontlines, Kurt, Storm, and Gambit work in the command center. Gambit traces Nova’s location, Kurt gets Storm there, and Storm removes the threat. The skills provided by each member of the team (although Gambit, in this instance, could have had his role filled by any number of other characters) turn out to be the perfect combination to overcome Nova and her swarms. To me, that is a perfect illustration of Taylor’s understanding of these characters and what they are capable of. Along the way, he manages to position Jean not only as the leader but almost as a matron of the mutant species in a way that feels organic to the character.
There is a distinct sense here that this sort of contemporary, globalized story is the future of the X-Books. Long a placeholder for the oppressed, mutants seem to be evolving into a world in which the traditional notions of oppression are evolving (no pun intended) and threats are becoming less clear in their origins and intentions. In a world where faceless monsters can press a vulnerable child into believing suicide is the only reasonable option as they sit comfortable and anonymous behind a keyboard, X-Men: Red takes a stand and says “Not today.”
This issue marks the final issue from superstar-in-the-making Carmen Carnero, as she sets off to launch a new Captain Marvel series in anticipation of the film release in the Spring of 2019. I’ll be sad to her leave as I thought she brought an astonishing sense of both the human and the superhuman to this book, but I’ll happily follow her onto new and exciting projects. Incoming artist Roge Antonio, known primarily for his time with Batgirl and the Birds of Prey will begin his stint with our favorite global team next month.
After an oddly paced issue #7, X-Men: Red #8 delivers on all of the potential of a new breed of X-Book. As long as Taylor is at the helm, Red is a must-read series.
X-Men: Red #8: A Perfect Storm
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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