Review: ‘X-Men Red’ #6 Makes War
by Tony Thornley
The hour of Uranos has passed. Now the hour of Magneto has begun and X-Men Red #6 shows exactly why that should inspire awe.
This Judgment Day tie-in continues to impress from Al Ewing, Stefano Caselli, Federico Blee, and Ariana Maher.
Uranos has laid Arakko to ruin. Magneto is gravely injured. Storm now finds herself standing with the Great Circle to defend the planet against the war machines Uranos left behind. Their only hope lies in banding together, in a fight they can’t possibly win.
This issue simply stunned. From the heroism of a simple Earth scientist, to the awe-inspiring power of the Arakii, to the deep emotional bond between Magneto and Storm, it was one of the best issues of X-Men since House of X. Ewing proves how capable he is as a writer by making the far-out situation of an immortal genocidal maniac unleashing sci-fi war machines on Mars, and grounding it in the characters.
It’s a story based in the fantastic but centered on the human beings at its core, even if it’s only two panels of Richard Ryder confronting his insecurities, or the fragility of Abigail Brand going through the resurrection protocols in a single panel. The narration here is where Maher shines. She paces the captions in a way that creates a sense of disorientation that mirrors the characters, and then carries that pacing through the dialogue- the characters are in the middle of a war, and she creates a cadence with her letter placement that echoes the strain the characters are experiencing.
Even better is the reveal of the Night Seats of the Great Ring of Arakko. Since the Great Ring was revealed, the Night Seats have hung over their story like Chekov’s Gun. Ewing knew this was the perfect time to reveal them, and it’s a moment executed nearly perfectly. Of course Sunspot is among their membership, as the New Mutant continues to reveal depth and layers that Ewing has been building up to naturally for years, and the other two members are immediately interesting- one we met earlier in this series, and the other making their first appearance here. It’s a wonderfully executed reveal, and a great hook for the future of the series.
Caselli does fantastic work through the issue. He makes the struggle apparent on each character’s face, whether they’re enjoying the fight or terrified of their looming doom. He also uses different layouts to accomplish different things in the story. Rigid, structured panels take Storm through her psychic journey through Arakko’s battlefield. Jagged and broken panels fight with Magneto as he battles Urano’s war machines. It’s a great example of storytelling through the art. Blee creates an atmosphere in the story that adds to Caselli’s frantic pencils, using red and purples to create an unsettling aura around the Arakii and X-Men.
I’ve said it before, but this series is using the potential of this era of X-Men to its fullest. Now the creative team is doing the same with event tie-ins. It’s a great comic, and always worth picking up.
X-Men Red #6 is available now from Marvel Comics.
The Hour of Magneto is at hand, and that makes for one of the best issues of comics in a LONG time.