THE SUMMONING BEGINS. A lead-in to the biggest X-story of the summer.
As the new X-Men line gears up for its first ever crossover, pieces need to be put on the gameboard. To do that, one of the lines’ breakout stars faces some tough truths and an even tougher history lesson.
In the background of several titles, the mutant once known as En Sabbah Nur (now called •┤Ȧ├•) had been working towards an unknown goal. Here we see a lot more of what that is, and why. It’s a complex vision of the past and the future by Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Francis Yu, Sunny Gho, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller.
•┤Ȧ├• interrupts Arakko refugee, the Summoner as he’s bonding with the young X-Men. He wants to know what happened since he last saw the mutants on Krakoa’s sibling island. He wants to know about his family, the first Horsemen. He wants to know the fate of his wife, Genesis. And the Summoner is more than happy to oblige.
First of all, I need to point out before I get into this review that readers should read Excalibur #12 prior to this issue. This issue takes place shortly afterwards and some elements of the issue might be a bit confusing without having read that. Plus, Excalibur is a great series on its own and you should catch up on it regardless.
This issue is primarily a history lesson from Hickman though. After a year of teases and shadowy dealings, we finally get the full secret history of •┤Ȧ├•. It’s a huge data dump and it’s all clearly meant to come back to bite him by the time that “X of Swords” gets rolling. If you’re the type that’s really into learning lore and history of a fictional world, this is going to be an engrossing read. If it’s not, it’ll be dry, but it will be worth it for “X of Swords”. Cowles does a great job at keeping the script clear without making it just feel like a textbook as well.
Yu has really stepped up his game over the last few months, which makes it too bad that this is his last issue as the lead artist on X-Men. His •┤Ȧ├• is imposing and grand, giving him the frightening stature that he once had as the X-Men’s greatest villain. The Summoner meanwhile is extremely unsettling, thanks to both how Yu draws him and Gho’s ethereal colors. The issue progresses much the same, with Yu creating a stunning new world with Arakko and the hellish realm it’s stuck in, and Gho breathing life into it with his color work.
The pieces are in place now, and “X of Swords” is on its way. After this issue, I’m excited to see what’s next.
X-Men #12 is available now from Marvel Comics.