X-Treme X-Men #4
The X-Treme X-Men are back! Set during the original run by legendary X-scribe Chris Claremont and artist Salvador Larroca, the team has been hit by a one-two punch! On one hand, they're handling Ogun, a villain who has stowed his soul away secretly inside of Kitty Pride. On the other hand, they're fighting against a group of strange individuals who go by the name Galerer and have combined their might with an anti-mutant collective, the Purity. Stakes have reached an all-time high as the team has had their powers erased by the Galerer and now stand alone against both threats as nothing more than humans.
X-Treme X-Men #4 is the penultimate chapter in Chris Claremont and Salvador Larroca’s return to the series. It is full of exciting action and dynamic scenarios that make for a significant issue of raw superhero excitement.
This series’ commitment to an early 2000s aesthetic and edginess has been a dated delight, and this issue spares no expense in that regard. Despite the pain and lack of healing factor, moments such as Wolverine popping his claws are so unnecessarily complicated. For all his faults, Claremont is the master of delivering exciting plot beats that keep the book’s energy going. This book is full of those moments, and while the build to them in the first three issues was unevenly paced, they were well rewarded here in this chapter. While the book has also struggled to balance out its massive team roster, this issue takes time to give almost everyone a moment to shine. Rogue taking on Ogun alone as the rest of the X-Men barely escape is an excellent example of this issue’s strong suit. It’s a suspenseful and lousy ass, giving all its characters, protagonist and antagonist, moments to shine.
This issue also brings all of Storm’s protective rage into full view, giving her a beautiful moment between herself and Gambit that paid off not just in her arc from this series but from Claremont’s recent Gambit mini-series.
This issue brings everything I found wrong with the first three and contextualizes it in a way that brought me back to them for re-evaluation. Salvador Larroca’s art only adds to the glorious feeling of this issue. The scenery in this issue becomes drenched in snow, and the political darkness of the anti-mutant protests grows violent in ways reminiscent of Brian Bolland’s work on the ‘American Dream’ scene in 1986’s Watchmen. While the written content is nowhere close to the same level of what that work was trying to achieve, it says a lot about this issue’s artistic quality that it drudged up a similar vibe.
Yes, this series is another one of Marvel’s throwback tales that lacks any potential to change or impact the characters as they stand now. However, unlike other minis of the same concept, the story in X-Treme X-Men isn’t one for which we already have the answers. This era of X hadn’t been properly wrapped up, nor is it trying to wrap up a thematic concept already undone by future stories.
X-Treme X-Men #4 is classical X-Men suspense done right. Choked with action and great character moments, this issue rectifies some of the pacing shenanigans in previous issues for an all around great time.
X-Treme X-Men #4: Raging Storm!
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10
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