Review: ‘X-Men’ #16 Reveals Unintended Consequences
by Tony Thornley
The creative team lays the groundwork for 2021 and beyond!
We still don’t quite know what the Reign of X era is all about, but if X-Men #16 is any indication, it’s definitely going to include figuring out what to do with over a million Arakki mutants…
A month after X of Swords ended, the X-Men flagship finally arrived and made its statement for the future. It’s a story that’s high concept but relatable, and bleak yet hopeful. Best of all it gives readers a lot of promise for the future, from Jonathan Hickman, Phil Noto, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller.
The Otherworld tournament has brought change to mutantkind. Krakoa and Arakko have been reunited, but not reconnected both literally and figuratively. The Quiet Council is missing members. And the X-Men as a team of superheroes are about to be reborn…
There’s no doubt this issue is an epilogue. The title of the issue itself is even “Sworded Out” for good measure. But it’s clear from the text that Hickman is making a statement in the epilogue- we’ve done all the set-up and it’s time for the meat of this story. He takes the time with each plot point- of which there’s many- and gives them just enough page space to let the readers know that there’s plans here but also a long game. It’s a statement that readers needed to see for the coming months.
Noto does great work here, but it’s not his best. Some of the figures are overly stiff, and he relies a bit too much on static close-ups in some sequences. However, overall, it’s still very good. The two highlights of the issue are Cypher’s meeting with Krakoa and Arakko and Xavier and Magneto’s parallel meeting with Isca the Unbeaten. Both scenes are dynamic throughout, but are driven entirely through quiet character moments- which Noto excels at- rather than bombastic action.
Without a doubt, this was an exciting issue, without depicting a single fight. The world building is fascinating and the plot promises exciting things to come. I’m excited to see what they mean.
X-Men #16 is available now from Marvel Comics.