This week, Sins of Sinister concludes in explosive style, ushering in the beginnings of the upcoming Fall of X… will Mister Sinister ascend to Dominion status? Will anyone survive the Year 30xx and make it back to the 616? Find out in our SPOILER-HEAVY review! If you’re looking to experience this issue on your own, scroll down to the Rapid Rundown for a spoiler-lite blurb on Alien #1 and Strange Academy: Finals #6.
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Sins of Sinister: Dominion #1
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artists: Paco Medina & Lucas Werneck
Color Artist: Bryan Valenza
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller w/Jay Bowen
Just as Age of Apocalypse had major ramifications for the 616, so does the Sins of Sinister — and maybe even more so.
Kieron Gillen (along with the SOS braintrust of Al Ewing and Si Spurrier) takes everything we thought we were afraid of about Mister Sinister and throws it out the window. Though Gillen is well known for his comedic yet villainous take on Sinister, this issue brings us the next evolution of his diabolical Victorian: the sympathetic Sinister. His world-building and sci-fi know-how are superb, but it’s this character work that I think stands about the rest.
Though this has been a somewhat bewildering event (and that feels intentional), I’ve been entranced at every step. The strange concepts and mashups of mutants have been so fun to see come together, across all three titles in this event. From a Ghost Rider filled Galactus corpse to the Unstoppable velocity of a Juggernaut-bullet, this event has been one of the most fun X-Men events period… while simultaneously one of the most consequential.
The middle of the issue resets the timeline, sending shockwaves back into reality. The revelation that a Sinister Dominion already exists is devastating, especially for Mister Sinister, who now fears his own existence. The Quiet Council also finally learns about the Moira clones, and comes face to face with Mother Righteous… who, fulfilling a dream from FOUR years ago, brings the iconic Rasputin IV into the main 616. There’s also a major twist at the end of the issue (which I will not spoil) that perfectly sets the stage for the Fall of X… and I am worried.
Paco Medina was the perfect choice to close out this world, and it was great to see his fantastic designs for a planet-sized Xavier and the final evolution of Jon Ironfire (who I’m hoping we haven’t seen the last of). Lucas Werneck comes in for the last third of the book, helping to differentiate styles and bring us back into the 616. His facial expressions are top of the line, especially when it comes to the anguish that consumes Mister Sinister after he learns of his ultimate failure.
Bryan Valenza does a great job of unifying the entire book, keeping a consistent palette from start to finish. The same goes for Clayton Cowles, whose lettering is clean and incredibly easy to follow. This book wouldn’t have been as enjoyable without that level of consistency, and I’m happy to say that this is an all-around gorgeous package.
If I have any gripe with this book, it’s that this is an incredibly dense comic. I understand that each individual series of this event was designed to be read in a specific order, as well as separately, but I don’t think I would’ve understood half of what happened in this finale without having read absolutely everything. Obviously, this specific issue (probably) shouldn’t be anyone’s first X-comic, but there were definitely a few moments where I had to stop and restart the sequence to figure out what was going on.
Regardless, if weird sci-fi, drama, and X-Men are your jam, I think this is a solid conclusion to a rip-roaring event. Not only does it wrap up this story in a trippy way that just feels X-Men, but it also sets up some horrific stakes I’m sure are to doom mutants with the upcoming Fall of X.
Verdict: BUY. If you’re sold on this era of X-Men, this is for you.
- Alien (2023) #1
- This inaugural issue by Declan Shalvey, Andrea Broccardo, Tríona Farrell, and Clayton Cowles sets up a classic Alien (or maybe Aliens) story. Returning to the ice moon setting (although this time it’s LV-695 instead of LV-426 – happy April 26th), Alien #1 contains many of the components of an archetypical tale for the franchise. This includes a semi-conventional family unit (that’s sure to be tested) and protagonists trapped in a bad situation by the “necessities” of capitalism and unchecked greed. This element is further emphasized by the fourth-wall-leaning corporate take-over that takes place in this entry (Fox or Disney, Talbot Engineering or Weyland-Yutani; it makes little difference to those of us stuck on the warehouse floor). I enjoyed the way this issue set up the conflict for this run. However, I do think that this issue falls slightly short by failing to include some gory glimpse of what the Xenomorphs have in store for our heroes and antagonists. As a fan of the Alien Franchise, I already have a pretty clear idea; however, including just one splash page hinting at the bloody fate awaiting most of these characters could have helped hook any potential but uninitiated readers. As observed by Stephen King in his reflections on Alien in Danse Macabre, the revulsion that accompanies the initial chest-bursting scene is just as much a part of the Alien formula as the thick narrative tension. I am curious why the Boreas has a registry number of 10251979 – close to, but not quite matching, Alien’s original U.S. theatrical release date of May 25th, 1979. Finally, shout-out to this run for having excellent original art. Gory enough or not, I’ll still stick around for a second issue. —AJK
Strange Academy: Finals #6
Class is over for the kids at Strange Academy and I’m going to miss the kids and the faculty. For the past few years, writer Scottie Young and Humberto Ramos have been chronicling the adventures and curriculum of the next generation of Marvel magic users. And it’s all been leading to this mystical showdown as Dormammu has turned one of the Academy students, Emily Bright, against her classmates. While usually light and carefree, this series finale has a dark edge, as the faculty battle Dormammu in the Vishanti realm and the students dig in to defend their school from the powered-up Emily. With a team like Young and Ramos, you can’t lose, mix Young’s tight plotting and fun dialog with Ramos’s quirky character designs and dynamic storytelling. Hopefully, Marvel has plans to bring back this creative team to further the studies of these young sorcerers. —GC3
Next Week: Carnage Reigns, 2099, and FCBD, oh my! Catch up with past entries in the Marvel Rundown archive.
Regarding the number on the Boreas, could it be that artist Andrea Broccardo is Italian and Alien was released in that country on October 25th, 1979?
Nailed it! Nice catch, Anton. Thanks for sharing!
I’m really looking forward to the sequel. I was surprised by this development of the plot in the universe.
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