We are officially in the Dawn of X. Jonathan Hickman‘s rehaul of the X-line continues this week with X-Men #1, which continues the course for the future of mutantkind. Meanwhile, a major storyline wraps up in Captain Marvel #11, and Absolute Carnage rages on.
Here’s what’s new in the Marvel U, right here on The Marvel Rundown!
X-Men #1 DX
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Penciled by Leinil Francis Yu
Inked by Gerry Alanguilan
Colored by Sunny Gho
Lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Design by Tom Muller
Cover by Leinil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho
Samantha Puc: So, the HoX/PoX saga has ended, but Jonathan Hickman isn’t quite done with the X-Men yet. Dawn of X officially launched this week with X-Men #1, which focuses primarily on Scott Summers and his family — as well as the Orchis Forge, the threat that keeps on giving. Chloe, how did this issue feel as a #1? Was it a strong start for the title?
Chloe Maveal: Oh, you mean House of/Powers of X issue #13? I don’t know if it really benefited from being labeled a number one of a new series, but there were a lot of impressive layers to it nonetheless. Am I completely off-base in feeling like this was just a length continuation of what we’ve been reading?
Puc: No, I don’t think you are. This is definitely a continuation that seems to pick up right after the end of House of X #6, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I assume people coming into this title are coming from the saga before, which… has kind of been the problem with X-Men continuity all along, huh?
Maveal: Exactly. Ideally most people would have read the lead-up, but considering that’s not a guarantee (especially given the price of having to buy a comic a week for 12 weeks), this could be hella confusing for readers trying to use this as a point to jump aboard the Hickman Train. But at the end of the day, I am a Scott Summers fan and this gave me a lot of feelings seeing him basically act out an episode of Full House.
Puc: Same. We knew from the main X-Men #1 cover by Leinil Francis Yu and Sunny Gho that most of Scott’s family would make appearances in this run, but Scott has truly just created one big place to crash for everyone he’s related to — and then some. I really enjoyed the humor employed in this issue, especially with Vulcan and Wolverine; it was also nice to see so many faces we didn’t get to see in HOX/POX. Did anything in particular stand out for you?
Maveal: Call me the unobservant member of this team, but I didn’t feel like there was a lot that went unseen from the leading series. It was nice to see some lightheartedness and humor though, I agree. I can always go for an over-intense version of Storm as well. AND I started to grab back onto the hook when the team discovers the post-humans in pods. Just when they start losing me they pull me right back in, Sam. It’s exhausting.
Puc: I guess I mean it was nice to see some more faces spotlighted who weren’t super involved before, if that makes sense. I really loved Storm in this issue and Polaris is one of my favorite characters, so it was great to see her again. Her involvement in this series and this team excites me a lot, especially since Magneto is such a celebrity on Krakoa. It was also neat to see the various family dynamics — Polaris and Magneto, Scott and Corsair, Cable and Jean, etc. The emotional beats in this issue worked really well for me.
I am very intrigued by the post-humans in pods! Hickman is really into pods, huh? So many pods. I realized I’d be in this for the long haul as soon as Moira X was revealed, so I’ve basically snuggled up with a blanket and a thermos for however long this story carries on.
Maveal: Funny enough I DO have feelings about spotlighted faces…but it’s more of a commentary on Yu’s artwork. I started getting really frustrated because while there were so many close-up shots of (specifically male) characters where I was like, “Oooo look how beautiful that hatching is! What a great panel!” There were equally as many where I was wondering if Yu has ever seen a woman smile before, ever. Is artistic whiplash a thing? It feels like a thing in this issue.
Puc: I only noticed one panel like that, and I wondered if he was trying to make her look as if she was grimacing. I think that the majority of the facial expressions rendered in this issue are beautiful, like you said. Corsair and Logan, in particular, have some incredibly detailed panel shots that are just fantastic. Admittedly, I fell deep enough into Sunny Gho’s colors that those made up for any weirdness in the pencils or inks.
Maveal: Fair enough. I admit that the colors are seriously stunning. Not only that, but I think big kudos are due to Gho for keeping the color-story so close to what we’ve been seeing in HoX/PoX! That’s wildly impressive and will probably make returning readers have an easy transition into the new subject matter.
Puc: Yes! Absolutely. I think that’s also helped by Tom Muller continuing on design and Clayton Cowles continuing on letters. It creates a cohesion that I think would be missing otherwise, and I’m glad for it. One thing I deeply dislike is when a book bounces from one extreme aesthetic to another, and even though this is a #1, it still feels rooted in the Krakoa we’ve come to know (ish — do we really know what’s happening here? Probably not).
Maveal: I’ve yet to decide if not having a clue what’s going on and blindly enjoying it is me being exhausted with X-Men again or if my adolescent love of it is being kindled and swaddled by it; but regardless I’m still finding excitement in what we’re going to see with this new brand of mutant revolution.
Puc: Perhaps the excitement is the friends we make along the way, or something. Speaking of: I do wonder who all Vulcan has brought home to the deep chagrin of Scott and Jean.
Maveal: Maybe I’m a sociopath, but one of life’s great pleasures is seeing Scott and Jean in a tizzy over things. So if you want my opinion: the more the merrier.
Puc: We’re on the same page there. More than a few lines of dialogue and text are trotted out in this issue to reinforce the idea that all of mutantkind is one big family, which on the one hand feels nice against the family sitcom moments in X-Men #1, but on the other makes me nervous for when the other shoe eventually drops.
Maveal: Well of course the shoe is going to drop. Some thing is going to happen and John Stamos — I mean… Scott — is going to have to fix it. Which is to say, this has a very ’90s X-Men feel. It’s all good times until it’s bad times.
Puc: Here’s hoping Vulcan doesn’t burn the house down overcooking Wolvy’s steak. Is there anything else you’d like to note before we give our final verdicts?
Maveal: I think we’ve basically touched all of the bases! There’s no reason this needed to be a separate series (that I genuinely hope doesn’t turn off new readers), but nonetheless, the writing and artwork continue to be fresh, consistent, and a ton of fun. This hefty first issue is a BUY from me.
Puc: I really enjoyed X-Men #1 and I’m still invested in these characters and this story, so it’s a BUY from me as well!
Final verdict: Chloe and Samantha agree this issue is a BUY.
Captain Marvel #11
Written by Kelly Thompson
Illustrated by Carmen Carnero
Colored by Tamra Bonvillain
Lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover by Mark Brooks
Reviewed by Samantha Puc
Captain Marvel #11 feels like the end of an era. It’s the end of the “Falling Star” arc, the precursor to the Dark!Carol arc, and artist Carmen Carnero‘s last issue on the run (for now!), which makes everything feel especially intense. When last we saw Carol, she ripped a hole in her own chest to remove the siphon that was giving Star her powers, only to learn that Star was also leeching power from every single civilian in New York. It was a dark, trauma-fueled turn for Ripley Ryan, the journalist Carol followed onto Roosevelt Island in the first arc of the series.
Writer Kelly Thompson does an excellent job exploring trauma here, not just with Ripley but also with Carol; no matter what happens next, these characters will be changed forever, and that raises the stakes in a permanent way. While it’s possible to cope with trauma and, in some cases, move past it, it’s not something we can ever really let go of in its entirety. That informs our reactions, our choices, and even our personalities. Seeing Carol and Star on two sides of the same coin tackles this issue beautifully, including how victims of similar traumas can have wholly different responses.
It’s truly unfortunate that Carnero is moving on from Captain Marvel after this issue, although Lee Garbett‘s designs for issue #12 look incredible. Thompson, Carnero, Tamra Bonvillain, and Clayton Cowles have taken an already incredible character and elevated her even more through this series, which is a feat. Carnero’s art plays such a huge role in that, especially because of her attention to detail and her focus on facial expressions and body language. The characters feel real in Carnero’s capable hands, as if they could jump off the page and into the real world at any moment. It will be interesting to see how Garbett fills the shoes she leaves behind, and to see what personal twists he brings to the story.
With that in mind, Captain Marvel #11 feels like a fitting send-off for Carnero, whose bold lines and detailed backgrounds are enhanced by her use of perspective. Bonvillain’s colors elevate every panel and Cowles does some incredible work, as well, especially in Carol’s voiceover. It would be easy for the “Falling Star” arc to become too heavy-handed and preachy, given its themes, but Thompson and the team strike a delicate balance that posits a definition of heroism while also pinpointing the dangers of martyrdom.
Starting next month, we’ll see a new Captain Marvel — in more ways than one. This issue made me feel especially jazzed to continue on this journey, which has already been an impeccable run from the jump. If you’re not caught up on Captain Marvel, this is a great time to dive right in. My final verdict this issue is a very firm, very enthusiastic BUY.
- Absolute Carnage #4
- As the symbiote-centric event enters its endgame, writer Donny Cates keeps the focus firmly on Eddie Brock in a story that finds him at his most heroic, even as the Venom symbiote has abandoned him. The art team of Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, and Frank Martin continue to imbue each page with the kind of frenetic terror that every great Carnage story thrives on. The cliffhanger promises one helluva battle in the final issue, and maybe even a new kind of Venom once this series reaches its conclusion. This is just fun. — JG
- Absolute Carnage: Avengers #1
- This #1 is surprisingly poetic, given the subject matter. Flitting back and forth between Captain America and Hawkeye keeps the pacing consistent, while also driving home just how intense the stakes are. The art by Alberto Albuquerque and Guiu Vilanova is also stunning, especially with Rachelle Rosenberg‘s colors. I’ve been observing Absolute Carnage from afar, but I’m glad I picked this issue up! — SP
- Captain America #15
- Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing one of the most gripping Captain America stories I’ve read in years, and this issue is no exception. — SP
Next week, Marauders and Amazing Mary Jane make their big debuts!