Writer: Al Ewing / Artist: Stefano Caselli / Marvel Comics
Round of applause to Al Ewing for skyrocketing out the post-Hickman era gate with much style and grace. X-Men: Red #1 contains a balanced mix of dope action, well written dialogue, impressive visuals, and a nicely paced storyline. Off the rip, Ewing is doing our girl Storm justice in the way that she represents herself and handles the position she was destined for. Far too often does Storm baffle writers because of her Omega level powers, on top of artists being unable to properly draw and color the hair texture, skin tone, and overall badass royalty of Ororo.
Not the case here. She is fierce when needed (which is constantly, with the number of challenges she receives from those who think she’s soft) and level headed always. From the Circle Perilous to the Great Ring of Arakko, and everywhere in between, Storm is presented with every ounce of dignity she has earned as The voice of Sol and Regent of Planet Arakko.
She also looks incredible in every..single..panel! Stefano Caselli is doin the lawd’s work and there’s nary a criticism to be found in this man’s work. From Marauders and S.W.O.R.D. to Inferno and Red, Caselli is blessing the world with gorgeous works of art spanning the depths of space, the illustrious terrains of Earth, and now the untapped potential of Mars.
X-Men: Red #1 centers around a vote, a decision. We never actually see the decision get made, but we are able to marvel at Al Ewing’s usage of the Hickman data page, that he is absolutely running with! The breakdown of the 9 votes for war or peace, with a little bio on each council member is just a thing of beauty. Juicy, funny, and insightful. These pages really provide that added layer of insight you crave while diving into this entirely new culture and planet of mutants.
There are so many intriguing storylines that are set up in X-Men: Red #1, but that classic X-Men theme of a web, group mentality, and interconnectivity kept coming back for me. Vulcan on a maniacal rampage and being recruited to finally serve a purpose again; exciting and worrisome, considering who’s giving him the job. Cable and Thunderbird got me feeling X-Men TAS nostalgic in their interactions. I love the way Magneto finds solace, while also finding the most unexpected companion one could anticipate in a remote place on Arakko. Watching them become fast friends as their truths come tumbling out was a welcome vulnerable moment.
Sidebar: Here at BNP, we have this running joke that mutants never fight 1v1, and why would they? It’s squad over everything for mutants. It’s kind of their thing, you know? Being a marginalized group and having to band together for safety, survival, and community. Sound familiar?
Adding Sunspot into that dynamic created the perfect amount of chaos before the cliffhanger was dropped on us, undoubtedly sending readers into a frenzy. It all comes together quite smoothly and a new X-Team is birthed right before our eyes. If I wasn’t already hype for this series, I certainly would be after that final panel!
9 Failed Dreams of Something Perfect out of 10
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