It’s always challenging to write a series during a big crossover. Most of the crucial moments happen in the big event book, and the regular series serves as a way to expand on the battle. X-Men #13 sheds some light on the things we don’t see. Gerry Duggan shows us what the newly elected team is up to while Krakoa is being attacked. Joined by C.F. Villa on pencils, Matt Milla takes on the colors, and Clayton Cowles does the letters. X-Men #13 offers readers an in-depth look at our heroes as they try to save the island.
There is a little bit more of a challenge for Gerry Duggan since he is writing a new cast. Firestar, Iceman, Magik, Forge, and Havok all joined the team at the Hellfire Gala. Duggan makes his best attempts to fit everyone in and give them a distinct voice, but with such a large cast, some characters don’t get enough panel time. What is clear is that Duggan has a grasp on Forge and Magik. As new team members, they stand out, and Duggan likes writing them. Cyclops and Jean remain the leaders of the team. Duggan uses them effectively in this issue but also gives them less time in the spotlight so he can flesh out all of his new toys. X-Men #13 gives us more of an idea of what the X-Men were doing during the big attack on Krakoa. This issue also builds off of Death To The Mutants #1, so the events in this book tie directly to it. Duggan uses this team creatively, and he also brings a breath of fresh air to some of these characters. Iceman feels like himself again. Duggan has him joking and paling around with Synch. Forge seems interested in the cause as he creates new machines to take down Eternals. Duggan took another random group of mutants and made them feel like a team.
C.F. Villa handles the pencils. Villa makes his money on this issue with big action pages. As the X-Men try to take down a giant Eternal, the characters’ scale is nicely done. Action sequences are handled well here too. As the mutants descend into the Eternals Hex area, Villa draws the battle wonderfully. All characters are clear to see, and the lines are clean. If there is one minor gripe about the pencils, it’s that a character resembles an anime character on a couple of panels. The eyes are slightly bigger than they should be, and there is a lot of shading underneath them. This is a small nitpick. That aside, Villa does a great job of combining exciting action sequences and steady line work.
Matt Milla is on colors for this issue. Milla has a vibrant color palette for the story. In panels where Iceman takes on a giant eternal, Milla uses a combination of bright yellows and darker oranges for the background. This works because Iceman is colored so brightly. He dominates the page, and the background adds good depth. Another great panel by Milla is as Ikaris looks at Earth from space. Milla shades Ikaris’ back perfectly as he stares at a planet from afar.
Clayton Cowles does the letters for this issue. And for most of the comic characters communicate telepathically. Cowles uses the classic distorted thought bubbles to signify this. One of the most memorable moments for lettering comes when Forge unleashes his new weapon. As he fires it off, it lets out a big transparent “BADOOM” that covers the whole panel. Cowles always uses the most exciting sound effects too. As Iceman punches an Eternal, Cowles uses a “SKRABOOM” instead of a simple boom. These little tweaks to words make a difference while you read the book.
X-Men #13 gives readers some more depth and backstory to fill in what the main title leaves out. X-Men #13 is an essential issue because it focuses more on smaller moments and gives readers more insight into several characters. Duggan is finding his footing with this series, and it’s paying off for X-Men fans. X-Men #13 is out now at a comic shop near you!