Review: ‘X-Men’ #14 Makes A Statement In Many Ways
by Tony Thornley
A very fun issue with an unusual take on event tie-ins, this one is worth picking up. The story and dialogue are a lot of fun, the art is getting better by the issue, and as an overall package, this is well worth it.
The newest team of X-Men are only a few weeks old, already they’re shaping up to be an interesting mix. Even in the midst of Judgment Day, they’re dealing with world-ending threats in their own ways.
Gerry Duggan, CF Villa, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles tie in to Judgment Day in an interesting way.
The Progenitor is preparing to judge all of Earth. That doesn’t mean that Earth’s heroes can rest, especially when Gamesworld’s wagers are still outstanding. That means Iceman and Firestar have mere minutes to stop the planet from being roasted, even in the face of Judgment Day.
I like this approach to a tie in. Often we see threats created by the big bad (like the symbiote dragons in King in Black) or taking advantage of it (pretty much every Spider-Man tie-in to an event ever), but having something completely unrelated in this manner is a lot of fun. Having the heroes (in this case Cyclops and Magik, then Iceman and Firestar) taking an exasperated break from the larger threat to basically “deal with these dumbasses” felt fresh. The story had momentum, and felt essential to its own plot and used the event to its advantage. It wasn’t a key issue for enjoying Judgment Day, but used the event for a solid backdrop.
I also enjoyed how Duggan used Iceman. There’s still so much controversy about Iceman’s coming out, but now that he’s out not a lot of writers have done anything interesting with his sexuality. Bobby gives a statement to the press, making it clear that he just saved the planet, and also that he’s a gay mutant, so it’s only fair that the world sees him for who he is. Following that, the reporter makes a stand against her editor to keep the that part of the interview. The only thing that lessens the impact of that moment is that both the reporter and the editor are nameless throwaways- if it had been someone like Betty Brant or Norah Winters, it would have made a good moment even stronger, because we know these characters and their morality.
Villa is a welcome addition to the book, with an even stronger statement in his second issue. He’s making his mark on the series with the new squad, particularly with how they’re behaving on the page. You can feel the desperation and relief as Iceman takes action and succeeds. You can see Firestar get overwhelmed for just a moment, then steps up to save the day. Add extremely dynamic layouts to the mix, and it’s shaping up to be a solid successor to Larraz’s earlier work.
Milla also does some amazing work here. One of the big moments of the issue is Iceman and Firestar creating a rainbow, and it’s a great capper to some really good color work. Most of the action takes place in the upper atmosphere as Iceman is deflecting an artificial solar flare. Milla is able to sell us on the immensity of the task, as he’s bathed in intense light that Milla depicts in reds and yellows. It sets the scene in a way that feels realistic, but also creates a mood that bears down on Iceman as Booby tries to save the day. It looks great.
It’s not a perfect book, but this is a really fun adventure, and points towards a stronger second year for this title. It will be interesting to see where it goes from here.
X-Men #14 is available now from Marvel Comics.