Judgement Day has come and gone, and the world is still standing. There will be no rest for the X-Men, though, as there is always another threat waiting to attack. X-Men Red #8 hit shelves this week, and Al Ewing has another problem for our mutants to handle. Madibek Musabekov on pencils, Federico Blee on colors, and Ariana Maher on letters are joining Ewing on this issue.
X-Men Red is considered one of the best X-books on the shelves. Al Ewing is a big reason for the praise of this title. His writing resonates with readers, and he takes the necessary time to build up a story arc. This latest issue feels like a continuation of his S.W.O.R.D. series. Ewing uses many of the same characters, Cable, Manifold, and Brand, and the story has a similar tone. I love that Ewing is utilizing Frenzy in this issue. He also brings up her crush on Scott Summers, a call back to Mike Carey’s Age of X story. Ewing does a great job of showing what a tactical mastermind Abigail Brand is. She’s been playing mutants from the beginning and has made some nasty alliances. Ewing will likely delve more into this as the story arc progresses, but he has set up an exciting start with this issue. If there is one thing we can count on when we pick up an issue of X-Men Red, it’s that Al Ewing is a great writer and will always do right by the fans and characters. This continues to be one of the best titles Marvel put out.
Madibek Musabekov handles the pencils. Having never heard of Musabekov before reading this issue, I thought he was a fantastic artist. The pencils for this issue are clean and clear. It’s easy to go from panel to panel and admire the talent that Musabekov has. It’s great to see Brand sitting with a stern look as she watches the events play out between the Kree and the Shi’ar. While this isn’t an action-packed issue, Musabekov does draw great group pages. As Manifold teleports the team, Musabekov uses different panel layouts. One is a close-up of the team. When they arrive, he uses a shot from above to establish some layout of the new and mysterious location. Musabekov’s work on this issue is outstanding and gives readers beautiful visuals as they read Ewing’s script. The art team on this book crushed it this week, and Musabekov’s pencils paved the way.
The colors by Federico Blee are as good as they usually are. Blee has a high standard for his work, and this issue highlights his talents. Blee uses a vibrant yellow and gold as the team transports. This is simply eye-catching and impossible not to look at. As the X-Men travel on their ship, Blee uses bright blues to symbolize coldness. This is contrasted by the bright gold on Manifold’s uniform, who is a key contributor to the mission. The thing that works the best for this issue color-wise is the fact that Blee allows certain things to pop into the issue. Abigail Brand’s green lips and hair stand out. Deathbird’s purple uniform. All of these are strategic moves made by Blee, and they work exceptionally well.
The letters by Ariana Maher complement the art that is on the page. My biggest gripe with the lettering is that there aren’t enough sound effects. Maher gives us a “SNIKT” as Cable unsheathes techno-organic claws, but that is nearly it. Maher’s word placement is top-notch, though. She never allows anything to be covered up by word balloons and enables her placement to show off the art. An overall good issue from Maher, but more sound effects are always welcome.
X-Men Red #8 is starting this story arc the right way. Al Ewing brings back fan-favorite characters and uses them. The art is excellent for this issue and may not be topped by another book out this week. X-Men Red is out at a comic shop near you!