X-Men #18 comes out this week and it builds on several different plots going on at the moment. We get a team up with the X-Terminators, there is a little of a crossover with the story line currently going on in Captain Marvel, and we also get some insight into Synch and old lady Laura’s relationship. This may seem like a lot of content to be packed into a single issue, but Gerry Duggan manages to handle it all. Joining Duggan for this ride is C.F. Villa on pencils, Matt Milla on colors and Clayton Cowles on letters.
Gerry Duggan does a lot of good in this issue. He ties together several previous plot threads from other writers and advances them. From the X-Men annual that was recently out, Duggan shows us Cyclops continuing his care for Firestar as he helps her learn to fly the X-Men’s ship. It’s good to see a writer build off a bond shared by two characters and continue to work to develop it. Duggan also finally touches on the Synch and old lady Laura relationship. This is payoff for fans who loved Hickman’s run on X-Men and enjoyed the children of the vault story he did. There is the huge problem of having two Laura’s. Duggan does wrap this up to some extent. Readers may want more than what we’re given, but Duggan handles it fairly realistically for the situation. It feels like we also see the end of the X-Terminators series in this issue, which could be a bit confusing for people who haven’t read it. All that aside, Gerry Duggan does a fine job of wrapping up several stories and building on future adventures in X-Men #18.
The pencils for this issue are handled by C.F. Villa. Where Villa excels the most in this issue are the action sequences with the two Wolverines. Villa gives us a great image as both Laura’s enter the vampire nest. The perspective on this page is perfect. Both Laura’s in the center as we see a dark and dank sewer behind them with red eyes lurking. Villa draws the two Wolverines flawlessly as they slice and dice vampires. As one Laura flies through the air using her foot claw, The other Laura gashes on the ground. There are also humorous panels that Villa does well too. Seeing Jubilee get her gum popped in her face twice is hilarious. What makes these panels even better are the expressions Villa draws for Jubilee’s face. Villa makes her look legitimately surprised both times.
The colors by Matt Milla are excellent this issue and compliment what Villa laid down on pencils. Milla gets our attention in the first couple of pages as Synch and old Laura fly through the air. His vibrant pink outline around the couple immediately grabs your attention. As the X-Men and X-Terminators enter the sewers, Milla does a perfect job of providing light from the street to highlight our characters. Shading is a big deal in this issue. Milla uses great judgement on when to use shading and when not to. As old lady Laura claws a vamp in the face, her hand provides a shading. When young Wolverine stabs a creature, the body provides shading all over her. These little touches by Milla allow the reader to get a more realistic experience.
Clayton Colwes is on letters for this issue, and he was busy. The sound effects from the fight sequences were very present. As a vamp bites Wolverine, it’s fangs bust due to the adamantium skeleton. Cowles uses a scream behind the image to show the vampire’s pain. There are of course several classic “SNIKT” moments in the issue, like when both Laura’s are in the sewers and they unsheathe their claws at the same time. Word Balloon placement is great as well. As the X-Men attempt to enter the sewers, Jubilee is talking in front. The rest of the team is behind her, but Cowles places the bubbles perfectly above the rest of the X-Men.
X-Men #18 is an action packed issue that ties up loose ends and adds new plot threads. What Gerry Duggan is doing with a rotating cast is impressive and ultimately fun. The art for the issue is solid in every aspect. X-Men #18 is available at a comic shop near you!