Comic Book Review: X-Men: Red #10


X-Men: Red represents the kind of storytelling you wish that most writers would aspire for when writing superheros. I don’t mean that as a knock to them either, but sometimes we need to be reminded of what it means to be a superhero. You can never forget that for some big and intricate plot. Keep a foot on the ground and remember why your heroes do what they do, this X-Men team does with every passing issue. I’d like to think that this story is also a CGer’s (Comics gate) worst nightmare. One that is aware of the real world, real world situations, and what it means for a group of people to suffer under hatred/misunderstanding.

A big thing for me this week was finding out what the deal was with Jean Grey. Last month gave us some big moments for this X-Man when she showed just why she has what it takes to be one of the best leaders for an X-Men team. Not only this, but we got to see what makes her so powerful without the limitations she placed on herself because of the Phoenix Force. The images we were shown as a tease for this issue showed us a different side of Jean that was contradicting and worrisome when the words that sit with you are “@#$% you humanity”. Is that really Jean? What could spark such an outburst? The answer to this was pretty clear from the start, but that didn’t change the need for answers. After the corner that Jean backed Cassandra Nova into, it only made sense that her next actions would lean towards more extreme and desperate.

When Cassandra Nova’s next plan was revealed, the next big thing had to be the way that Jean responded to this new attack. The rules may have changed for Cassandra Nova, but that doesn’t mean the rules of engagement have changed for Jean. At the end of the day, it is always the way that Jean and this team responds to the dangers that captivates you. This is a war that they are trying to fight without casualties, without violence, without encouraging what they are trying to fight against. The question raised at a time like this was clever as well. This is a war of telepaths, so it does require a telepath’s solution to the problem. Who even raised the question catches you off guard as well in the moment.

I’m not going to lie, I was almost brought to tears by the plan that Jean set into motion to fight back. On one end there was a brilliant twist to defending everyone from Cassandra Nova, BUT then there was the one thing that changed everything. What we get too accustomed to these days is the way that mutants handle their problems. There’s not a single reader here who should be able to read this and not feel thrilled that the first rule was broken for the sake of actually saving a world they wanted to be a part of.

While I was stunned by the work of Roge Antonia and Rain Beredo last month, that feeling only intensified with this new issue. Antonia puts more personality and energy into his pencils that adds to the overall engagement in these events. From the first page he grabs us with that scene with Jean. Of course it looks like Jean, but the movements during the monologue are very Cassandra Nova. You add the sky looking a slight shade of green given nova’s power signature being green, and it gets the wheels turning in your head more than you thought possible with one scene. From there I enjoyed the scope of work that went into the preparation for this inevitable confrontation with Nova. There was a lot to capture in each panel between the team, the armies, the added assistance to Jean, and not once would I say that quality was given up for quantity. The colors weren’t as big as they were in the previous issue, but they did well enough to set the atmosphere for where we are in the plot. They were bold when they needed to be in order to capture the key moments and actions by those with power.

X-Men: Red #10 was another masterpiece of an issue for this series. It is moving to see an X-Men book where there is another option to saving the world and mutants where you don’t have to either become like Xavier or Magneto. They aren’t the only figureheads to aspire to become. Jean represents option C and does it marvelously. The rules did not really change for Jean, not when her rules involved breaking the one rules that has honestly up to this point has set mutants back.

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