If one character has been the most visible figure in the new status quo of mutantkind, it’s Magneto. In X-Men #11, we see just what he means to Krakoa and its people, as Empyre hits the island nation.
As the X-Men are on a collision course with the threats of X of Swords, they have to face the Cotati armies. It’s a threat that they’re better suited for than most. This all comes to us by Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Francis Yu, Sunny Gho, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller.
The Cotati are coming for Krakoa. However, they haven’t planned for the fierce, organized and powerful resistance they will face there. Mutantkind is the most powerful force on the planet, and they have a powerful force on their side.
They have Magneto.
This second “arc” of Hickman’s X-Men continues to get better. Though the character work isn’t as strong here as last issue’s Vulcan spotlight or the emotional Scarlet Witch scenes of Empyre: X-Men, this issue revisits what has been the best thing about this run so far. Hickman simply gets Magneto. Though Erik is more relatable and human here than he has been in past issues of this run (with a wicked dark sense of humor), he is still a nearly god-like mythological figure, with the power to back it up.
However, that’s reinforced by his use of Exodus as a storyteller among Krakoans. In seeing the larger than life mutant as a sort of living oral history, it adds layers to how mutants see Magneto. It’s a small element in the story, but it makes the protagonist so much larger than life, and brings this issue closest to the epic feel of House and Powers last year.
I’ve had my frustrations with Yu’s art on this series for a while, but this issue feels like Yu at his peak. His characters are incredibly expressive- from the Summoner’s eerie glee in the opening scene, to the grand character acting that he does with Exodus and Magneto, to a simple smirk on Magik’s face as she gently taunts Magneto. These small moments enhance the bigger moments that Yu always does well, from the frightening arrival of the invading ships to Magneto’s casual violence as he tears the invaders to shreds.
Gho’s colors are very solid. He adds a lot of depth to the art, and by setting the story in the bright daylight he makes sure Yu’s heavily rendered linework is clear and the storytelling shines through. Cowles continues to show how skilled he is as a letterer, making the dialogue and captions blend into the art, except where simple moments are enhanced by bringing a word or sentence to the forefront.
Magneto’s last words from House of X #1 a year ago are still echoing in everyone’s ears. This issue proves them right- “You have new gods now.”
X-Men #11 is available now from Marvel Comics.