Well that was … unexpected. And no, I’m not talking about the guest pencils that appeared at the end of this comic. I’m, of course, talking about the surprise “villain” behind last issue’s “Mutant” Sentinels plot. If you’re looking for spoilers, you won’t find them in this review. I will say, though, writer Cullen Bunn sure does love those 90s X-Men stories, huh?
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Jorge Molina, Ray-Anthony Height
Publisher: Marvel Comics
After two very amazing issues, I’m sorry to report X-Men: Blue finally takes a dip in quality. I mean, it’s kind of inevitable when we start with a perfect 10. But, it’s not as bad as you think, so let me finish before you blast me in the comment space.
This is actually a very good issue (with a great moment full of heart I’ll talk about in a bit). Really, I was just bummed to see a sudden shift in the art just before the story wraps. In addition to Bunn’s writing, one of the things that’s made X-Men: Blue such a great series is Jorge Molina’s art. No disrespect toward Ray-Anthony Height’s pencils, but the shift in style is so drastic it took me out of the action for a second. I get it, though–the book ships twice a month. It’s a lot to draw on a deadline.
Also, it’s this issue’s switch to shinier, more cartoony pencils that highlight just how difficult it is for artists to make Jean Grey’s new haircut look good. Seriously, at what point do we all agree this is not her best look?
Art (and haircuts) aside, this is some good X-Men. We rejoin Jean’s squad where we left them, confronting a group of Sentinels that refer to the X-Men as their “fellow mutants.” We also meet a new Spanish mutant named Belen, who explains that the giant killer robots were just trying to help. Turns out these Sentinels have been programmed to help save mutantkind, and protect new mutants, like Belen, when their powers first manifest.
The Sentinels bring the X-Men back to their base to speak with the robots’ leader, who again, I can’t reveal. I want you to be surprised like I was (to be honest, I’d forgotten about this character). Once again, Bunn keeps up the theme of X-Men: Blue by taking a classic X-Men trope (Sentinels) and slightly tweaking it so that it feels fresh. This formula’s working out great so far, and unlike X-Men: Gold, every issue of Blue manages to feel both reassuring and exciting.
As a lifelong Scott and Jean fan, my favorite moment in this issue had to be the nice exchange the two share at the end of the issue. So many X-writers seem to derive joy from destroying the love these two shared. In this issue’s moment, I get the sense Bunn wants to rebuild the relationship on an entirely new foundation. These are two time-displaced mutants who are haunted by what they might grow up to become. Despite it all, you can tell they still care deeply for one another.
I have hope that these two crazy kids (they’re literally two crazy kids!) will work it out. Of course, next issue, Ultimate Wolverine comes to town and you know what that means … X-Men love triangle.
Hang in there, Scott!