Comic Book Review: X-Men: Red #11


A tough pill to swallow this week when X-Men: Red #11 marks the end of what has been one of the BEST X-Men stories written in a long time. I might even argue that this one actually is the best. Where else will you see peace fought properly, creatively, and with  clear vision in mind? How can you fight the same war for YEARS and not realize that maybe you need to change your strategy as well? X-Men: Red challenges what has not been done yet and on a grander stage.

That stage being this final confrontation with Cassandra Nova on the ruins of Genosha. When will the next time be where you see X-Men, Avengers, AND Atlanteans taking up arms against a singular threat? From the minute that this issue kicked off it was all hands on deck. I loved every flip of the page where this creative team took advantage of the kind of dynamic which forms when these three forces work together. Even then, they do not allow us to forget that this is an X-Men book. So there was going to be moments where they stood out more than the others. They chose those moments very well where the members of the X-Men: Red team showed exactly what they were made of when it counted most. A fair number of them pushing their powers to limits that they would not have under different circumstances. That alone said a lot about the urgency of this situation and what is at stake.

What was so brilliant about this final stand against Cassandra Nova was the way they took her down. Each and every way that they have come up with before was commendable for the way that they were able to think outside the box. It was never about who could hit harder, and they never had any intention of doing the kind of harm that would muddy their mission statement. They had their way of fighting back, and that is where unique solutions took place. I love expecting the unexpected, and they delivered. At first it all just seems like they are acting on a whim and then just like that your eyes embiggen when you realize that all of it is working according to plan. Gabby’s involvement made me laugh, Trinary’s role was clever, and Jean once again proved that even when she goes down she is not to be underestimated.

Cassandra Nova’s call to arms during this last stretch was chilling. She was dangerous before, but it was a different story entirely when facing off with her in person. For as much as I know about Cassandra Nova, I was still caught off guard by some of the things she was still capable of beyond reaching into your mind.

What followed all of this was a great closing for the book. They took us all the way back to where we started and showed us what could have been without the interruption of Cassandra Nova. This new role for Jean looks good on her, and serves the X-Men well. It almost breaks my heart that this kind of progress can happen only for Marvel to decide that the X-Men need to be broken again by the next year. A troublesome cycle is it not? Regardless that is then, this is now. The tone of this story stayed true from the start of this series to the end. We need to have an X-Men story like this where there is hope for better.

This final issue would not have been as fun if not for the efforts of this art team to capture the unique style of approach that the X-Men: Red take towards solving problems. These heroes did things they wouldn’t have done before, had enjoyable reactions to stepping outside of their comfort zone as well. There was nothing too flashy or standout in this issue visually, but they kept the same consistency going that holds our engagement with these characters and the world around them. I would say that the color work made the biggest difference with this last stretch. As the big battle, you want things to pop. That is what Reber brought out in a lot of these characters who pushed themselves to new heights in order to get the job done.

X-Men: Red #11 has been a ride that you wish never stopped. I remember when Cassandra Nova popped up as the villain and I was wary of what this could turn into using an old foe. Never more was I happy to be wrong about the way I felt. This was X-Men storytelling at its best when the fight for peace took on a whole new meaning. No twists, or need for shock value. Just a reflection of the kind of world we fight for today. It’s never easy, and its hard not to make compromises, but someone has to take that stand for things to be better,

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