X-Men #4 Review - The X-Men have become the villains in their own story...
• Jonathan Hickman (Writer) • Leinil Francis Yu (Pencils)
• Sunny Gho (Colorist) • Leinil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho (Cover Artists)
• Marvel (Publisher)
After a string of mediocre Dawn of X titles, a surprisingly strong comic came across my desk in X-Men #4. I have plenty of thoughts on the issue. Some of my opinions may be considered wrong-think and they may not all make it into the review. I will make a video about this comic when I get a moment. I do want to mention at the outset of any derision in the review that this script is amazing.
This issue would have been great even if it had been written in prose or if it had another IP that had nothing to do with the X-Men. The main thrust of the comic is that the leadership of Krakoa (Xavier, Magneto, Apocalypse) has been invited to a delegation of world leaders to discuss Globalization and Stability.
The Krakoan delegation arrives and plays the situation entirely straight while using the event as a means of establishing dominance over their human counterparts. While the meeting is taking place the Krakoan Captains (Cyclops and Gorgan) split up to deal with human assault teams stationed on the floors above and below.
Seeing Apocalypse in a suit is pretty slick and is one of the coolest moments we've seen from the IP in a long time. The dialogue and exposition are balanced nicely against the action taking place in the background. Apocalypse also gets some of the best lines of the issue. He clearly isn't bothered by anything going on in the proceedings.
It becomes painfully obvious that any of the three men could have mangled the human opposition with little effort. Having Cyclops and Gorgan do the heavy lifting just illustrates the point. Any mutant on the loose and unchecked could be a major problem for a community. The idea reminds me of the Mage situation in Dragon Age. The elephant in the room is that humans have a legit reason to be frightened here.
Mutant leadership is very direct in its intentions and longterm goals. Depending on your personal values you may see the X-Men as straight-up villains. The comic was released before the COVID-19 Pandemic and the protests following the Murder of George Floyd so it's kind of surreal reading the dialogue in the comic and then applying it to real-world events. Some of the demands and ideas being put out there by the more extreme activists aren't far from what we see from the X-Men. There is also no doubt that the outcomes would be similar if the real-world extremists had actionable power.
At the conclusion of Dawn of X, my working theory was that these weren't the real X-Men and that they were somewhere being held prisoner but based on what we're seeing in the real world and the political leanings of the creators and Marvel Comics, in general, I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't a twist and that these are the real X-Men repurposed for the current year.
I wanted to give the comic a 10/10 but Leinil's art while great when drawing the characters fall apart when depicting backgrounds. As I was reading I noticed that there were little to no backgrounds anywhere in the book and I couldn't ignore it. I don't think he's phoning it in but it's a really odd omission once you notice it.