Writer: Greg Pak; Artists: V. Ibañez, R. Redmond, S. Hans (cover)/ Marvel Comics
First, let’s just take a moment to love this cover. [takes a moment] Stephanie Hans continues to turn in spectacular images that encapsulate the content without giving anything away. She really centers Storm’s power and perspective. Every one of these covers is worthy of a frame. You can see more of her art here on her Tumblr. (P.S. She also does covers for Thor.)
Once you’re past the cover, this issue opens with a lovely everyday-life vibe, but there’s this narration…that’s never good. Sure the words are happy, but there’s something in the phrasing that gives the whole issue a sense of foreboding. You know it is all going to go off the rails, you just don’t know when. For now, you’re in the garden at the Jean Grey school, chilling with the Headmistress.
The relaxed vibe is shattered by a large, gloopy tentacle monster. Because you know. That happens to my day all the time. And behind that gloopy tentacle monster is another of Storm’s old friends: Kenji Uedo.
To catch y’all up, Kenji Uedo was a mutant first introduced in the Generation Hope comics in 2011. His ability/curse is that his body is in constant flux and can take on any shape he can imagine. This makes for some pretty serious, and understandable, psychological damage. He spends sometime in Utopia, the mutant city under San Francisco Bay, but also spends some time as a pretty terrifying villain. Here’s a taste:
Hope. Heh. My throat slid out of my head and danced like an eel before me. I gulped like a fish left on dry land until I swallowed it back in. That was how it started…and now you tell me it’s going to be okay? It’s not going to be okay. Nothing’s going to be okay.
When that’s your opening monologue…you KNOW things are going to go badly.
Hold on, Utopia…mutant city…San Francisco Bay? Wasn’t Storm just there? Oh yeah, back in Issue #8. He’s the creepy red eyes in the last panel! Argh, the foreshadowing!
But now Kenji’s back with other mutants and it is all good. They’re going to take care of him. He could take up a place on the staff as a professor or something. Storm gets to remain in relax mode. Except not.
I’m not going to spoil the ending here, but Kenji really brings the fight to Storm and her students in this comic and the last couple of panels continue the ominous threat of the opening narration. Pak and squad have something great in store for us next month and it is going to be gloopy!