Oh Captain, My Captain! Reviewing ‘Immoral X-Men’ #2
by Scott Redmond
Sins of Sinister rockets into the 100th year as the ‘Immoral X-Men’ turn their sights on one of their own, moving the story ever closer to the upcoming conclusion to this miniature alternate future storyline. A lot of intriguing ideas and character bits that could be seen again when things return to normal, played out differently, but overall just a bunch of fun that works for a middle of the run issue.
There is a very popular phrase about doing something and finding out the consequences of that particular decision. It’s said in a much more colorful way which would be quite a way to start off this review but suffice it to say it’s a phrase that very much fits where Nathaniel Essex/Mister Sinister is currently. Basically, Sins Of Sinister is a big old story of Sinister @#$%&^! around and quickly (relatively speaking) finding out.
It’s been a hundred years since Sinister’s goal to taint the Quiet Council and Krakoa itself in his image succeeded, and the galaxy has suffered greatly in that time. Kieron Gillen continues the feature of having a member of the council narrate the issue, once again giving a character a second chance to do so. It’s interesting that Hope originally got the second issue of Immortal X-Men as her narrative spotlight issue and gets the second issue of Immoral X-Men to do the same. Well, for the most part since the final probably 1/3 of the issue turns to Sinister and the fantastically returned Rasputin IV (a different but similar version of the character so many fell in love with from 2019’s Powers of X series).
This series is the one of the three featured in the Sins Of Sinister event that gives a chance to see the Sinister we knew from Krakoa dealing with his choices and how it blew up in his face. There is a very surprising moment here where when faced with the assured betrayal of the council (now that he has achieved 5 mutant power stable chimeras and can’t go any further) and the revelation of who Mother Superior is to him, Sinister makes a wide character turn when it comes to Rasputin IV and their future in this broken world. Surely, it’s a turn that is meant to get what he wants in regard to finding the Moiras, but Gillen sets it up in a way that one might believe he’s actually had a change of “heart” (as if the man has one) after suffering through a world of his own making for a hundred years and becoming quite miserable and turned off by the very idea.
Much like Emma in the previous issue, this one is about how Hope’s personality has been amplified and Sinisterfied, turning the dial up to an eleven, and in a way how Exodus similarly has been as he turns on the Messiah for “logical” reasons to him. It is interesting in a way to see the council members breaking apart more and more as the Sinister in them can’t be contained, and Sinisters are their own worst enemies.
This round of issues in the event comes from the pen of Andrea Di Vito, with Jim Charalampidis providing the colors.
Di Vito’s style is one that is very superhero in tone and quality, full of really solid layouts and framing, and just has a lot of energy that really befits a wider more fantastical story such as this one. We’re given a lot of really dynamic situations on various pages like one where we first see Rasputin IV and she takes up a giant chunk of the page herself both within a full page panel but also slips out of that panel into other inset panels around her and her badass sword. It all flows so smoothly for the more action-oriented scenes while also really nailing some of the more emotive sequences that the story provides.
Mixing and matching a more subdued toned-down sort of quality of color with those of a brighter more fantastical super variety is something that Charalampidis manages seemingly in a simple easy capacity. Many of the spaces are shadowed or brighter and have a more natural sort of appeal to them, saving some of the more vivid, yet still not overwhelmingly bright, colors for the space and action and alien portions of the issue. Panels like those showing off space and a planet feel heavy and darker and massive much like space should be thanks to the pairing of Di Vito and Charalampidis’ stylings.
While the rest of the artistic team changes over, Clayton Cowles remains immortal as the letterer of this series. One of the first things noticed about Cowles’s work is the attention paid to making sure that various volumes and tones are tangible as we read the words, allowing us to fill in the blanks about what a character sounds like at any given moment. Sentence case is used by quite a few letterers in different books or issues, and I appreciate its use by many including Cowles here. Not only does that case feel more natural of course to how we write it feels natural to how we talk too because it has emphasis but also a more neutral common sort of tone.
Weaving the bubbles and boxes and other bits of lettering through the story, never taking away from or overwhelming anything else on the page, sliding around where they are needed even to sometimes help guide the reader’s eyes where to go next.
Everything to do with Rasputin IV was such a joy. I fell in love with the character the first time around and am glad to see her back around and I’m ready to start a petition for her to get the Nate Grey/X-Man treatment from Age Of Apocalypse. That treatment of course would be her getting to be shunted over to the main prime/616 regular universe to stay and be part of X-Titles regularly. Make it happen, Marvel!
Immoral X-Men #2 is now available from Marvel Comics.