Even if Marvel hadn’t started to release information about its upcoming ResurrXion relaunch, the latest issue of Extraordinary X-Men makes it clear Jeff Lemire’s time with this particular cast of mutants is coming to a close. The result is another satisfying chapter in this series that still feels like it started yesterday.
Extraordinary X-Men #16 (Marvel Comics)
Lemire has managed to keep his X-Men stores fresh while playing with classic tropes. And really, what’s more X-Men than a hero going dark? With an assist from artist Victor Ibanez, Lemire resolves the dueling dark Sapna and Colossus sagas.
When last we saw Sapna, Magik’s young protege, she had become possessed by The World Eater, who – well, you can figure out what this extradimensional entity likes to do. Recent writers’ takes on Magik have cast her as coldhearted and aloof at times. But through her relationship with Sapna, Lemire has added new layers to Magik that makes her quite likable.
Sadly, we’ve seen a lot of writer-created mutants vanish as soon as their creator departs their title (most of Bendis’ Uncanny X-Men cast comes to mind), so it wouldn’t surprise me if we never hear Sapna’s name again once this title ends. But maybe, just maybe, Lemire has found a clever way to ensure she sticks around (you’ll see).
Meanwhile, Nightcrawler, who Lemire has put through the wringer, must make the latest in a series of hard decisions to save his friend Colossus from the corrupting influence of Apocalypse. Again, though Lemire has been working with a small cast, he hasn’t been afraid to play with each character in new and intriguing ways. Nightcrawler hasn’t been this interesting in a long time.
My only fear is that Lemire’s brand of strong character work will get lost as this series enters the Inhumans Vs. X-Men fray next issue. It’ll also be interesting to see where Lemire lands after IVX, as his has been one of the freshest X-voices in recent years. I would love to see what type of stories he can tell when he’s not tied so closely to the ongoing Terrigen Mists storyline.
In the art department, Ibanez continues to prove that his moody pencils are perfect for this fantastical story set in the always-dangerous Limbo. The artist’s creepy takes on the manipulative Apocalypse and possessed Sapna make it clear this is what would happen if the X-Men were dropped into a horror film.