Tying into the Empyre event, Marvel Comics releases X-Men #10 July 29. Writer and “Head of X” Jonathan Hickman is joined by artist Leinil Francis Yu, color artist Sunny Gho, and letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles.
I expressed surprised in my review of Empyre: X-Men #1 that the issue didn’t address the fact that the Summer House is on the move, the location of the Cotati base of attack. Hickman aptly addresses my previous concerns in the opening prose section describing the Cotati’s presence on the moon: “Huh. Who do we know who lives on the Moon?”
The issue focuses on Vulcan (Gabriel Summers) and picks up a previous revelation that the original Vulcan did not die in the War of Kings. As the original Vulcan is captured and probed by aliens from the Fault, whose goal seems to be to embrace being a broken person, we see the Vulcan at the Summer House on the moon muse and reflect about his struggles with violence and darkness as he tries to convince the Cotati not to embrace violence by attacking Earth. Ultimately, the Cotati don’t heed Vulcan’s admonishment and are destroyed, setting up a future conflict between Krakoa and the Cotati.
I’m excited to see where this two Vulcans story goes. They seem to share some sort of psychic link, with Gabriel waking up on the moon appearing to remember his counterpart’s probing. The Fault aliens’ intent seems to be to release Vulcan back into the universe as some kind of trojan horse, appearing to be good, but only as a mask for the brokenness within. If I had to guess on the direction this plot is going, I’d say that there will be some encounter between the two Vulcans, where Gabriel vanquishes his past self as a sign of personal transformation.
But that’s only a guess.
I love Yu’s art in this issue, especially his close-ups of people’s eyes and faces.
I appreciate the detail that Yu gives to his characters close up and have always appreciated the way his art complements Hickman’s writing.
Yu also is able to communicate some comedic timing in what is largely a serious and self-reflective issue for Vulcan. As Vulcan confronts the Cotati, his friends Petra and Sway are back day-drinking at the Summer House. Yu does an excellent job of capturing a funny moment.
Everything about this scene that makes it funny is obviously a collaboration between writer, artist, and letterer. Still, that little explosion on the horizon in an otherwise tranquil scene makes it all work.
And then, of course, there are just badass moments in this issue when Vulcan fights the Cotati.
After having Vulcan standing around trying to reason with the Cotati, Yu does a beautiful job showing him unleashing on some fools.
Gho’s colors are gorgeous here and are a great complement to Yu’s art. In the fight with Cotati, the colors of Vulcan’s fire are shaded well, giving them a smoky, smoldering look. That is particularly captured here.
That grainy mixture of black and orange works on a couple of levels, both to capture the fiery destruction, but accompanied by the look on Vulcan’s face, it reminds us of the brokenness, anger, and violence underneath the surface that has now been allowed an outlet.
Again, I very much hope that Vulcan’s arc is leading to redemption and not an unleashing of wrath upon his friends and enemies alike (I thought he might kill Petra and Sway when he turned around in that last panel).
Cowles’ lettering is excellent throughout the text. I found it interesting that this is one of the first X-titles I’ve read in a while that lacked a significant prose section unless of course you count Scott’s letter to Gabriel telling him that he’ll be there for him; however, this is accompanied by images, so I don’t think it quite counts. Cowles does a good job differentiating his lettering between the various alien species in this issue, character inflections, and narration without at any point overcrowding the page. His letters are a perfect complement to Yu’s art.
This is another excellent issue by Hickman. Per Hickman’s usual MO, everything he does is a majorly decompressed slow burn. Hickman is giving the X-World he’s creating room to grow and breathe and establish its own status quo. I am waiting for the other shoe to drop, though. Having read House/Powers of X, I know it’s coming, but Hickman isn’t in a hurry to get there. I’m still waiting for all the teased menaces to pay off in a big way. This issue teases that there is something on the horizon.
What did you think of X-Men #10? What do you think is in store for Vulcan’s future? Tell us in the comments below!