There are a lot of mutant books out there right now from our friends at Marvel. As you’d expect, while all of them are good, some are greater than others. That may just be because of one’s personal preference when it comes to story or art. What gets me going when it comes to a good mutant book is when I feel as though there are real stakes at play.
In Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men book and Benjamin Percy’s X-Force title, the stakes always seem be high. The former saw a core group of X-Men killed off in the first few issues, while the latter was where Professor Xavier was assassinated on the mutant island of Krakoa. While no death currently sticks in the world of the X-Men thanks to their newfound resurrection abilities, these two books in particular just feel like must reads as part of the current run of titles. Miss one, and you could conceivably miss out on a lot.
In the most recent issues of both books, the building blocks that Hickman and Percy have been crafting continue to play out in significant ways.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Matteo Buffagni
Since Hickman took over steering the X-books, Mystique has been at the core of some main plot points. She’s a reluctant ally of Xavier and Magneto, and while her actions work to help the greater good of mutants, her angle is fairly clean and simple – she wants her wife, Destiny, resurrected. In X-Men #6, we’re shown a conversation between the two that make it clear that Mystique knew well in advance that the leaders of Krakoa would lead her on and avoid her request. What the issue does, though, is make even more obvious the concept that the book seems to be building towards – that the new status quo of mutants is turning many of our perceived heroes into villains. Not simply card-carrying baddies, but characters who believe that their cause is so righteous, nothing and nobody can stand in their way. The greater intrigue is why won’t Xavier and Magneto resurrect Destiny? In a series full of many stories, this is a solid mystery I look forward to solving.
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Oscar Bazaldua
Meanwhile, over in X-Force #7, the focal point is Domino, who had previously been captured and her skin shredded; clearly she was out of luck that day. As she recovers from her injuries, there’s an assassin taking out pro-mutant activists around the world with amazing, some would say, lucky accuracy. Domino sets out to track down the assassin and save lives.
This issue was a lot of fun, sort of a spy vs spy type adventure. The stakes aren’t quite as high as previous issues, but the art and the action made for a genuine page turner, with a solid set-up for the next issue. If anything, I would have liked to have seen a few more members of the team throughout, but like Hickman, Percy is playing with a lot of characters and he’s not shoehorning any of them into a given month.
Both X-Men and X-Force are playing long games, which are guarantees to get readers like me back every month.