Review: ‘X-Men’ #10 Faces The Demons Of The Past

by Tony Thornley

One of the biggest surprises of the Dawn of X relaunch was the return of Vulcan. The new take on the infamous Summers brother won fans over, but everyone wondered if there was more to it. In the midst of Empyre, we get the answer courtesy of X-Men #10.

About a decade ago, we met a whole new team of X-Men. Half of the team was created just die, and thanks to this issue we see them as people for the first time since then. However we dive deep into Gabriel Summers’ psyche thanks to Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Yu, Sunny Gho, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller.

Vulcan’s team of X-Men each deal with trauma in their own way. For Petra and Sway, they spend their days partying, trying to keep numb with alcohol and a lack of responsibility. For Vulcan, it’s introspection. However when he encounters the invading forces of the Cotati just a few mere footsteps from the Summer House, they may awaken something in him he didn’t know existed…

This issue could have been a simple tie-in. It would have been easy for the plant-based forces of the Cotati to show up on Krakoa and wreck havoc. Instead, Hickman takes the time to revisit this trio of characters, and lay seeds for the future. Petra and Sway are still severely underwritten here, but they still get more development than they have before this point. 

However, what we get with Vulcan is fascinating. What we’ve seen of him in the Dawn of X stories up to this point might lead us to assume that his personality shift was the result of Xavier potentially using a past version of his memories or personality (like we’ve seen with Domino in X-Force). The answer presented here is not only much more sinister but provides readers with a lot more to anticipate. It’s a great twist, but in these pages, it’s not much more than a fight and a MASSIVE tease for a future story.

This is probably Yu’s best issue of this volume so far. Though some of his characters are still not very expressive (especially the female characters) what he does with Vulcan is leaps and bounds ahead of what he was doing several issues ago. Once he cuts loose and we see the rage behind the facade that we’ve gotten for the past ten issues, Yu’s take on him is frightening. It almost crosses the line into a horror story as this powerful superhuman just cuts loose and we see the literal fire, which Gho makes even more frightening with his realistic and lively colors.

The X-Men have two new threats coming out of this issue and that’s probably the most exciting thing about it. It wasn’t a perfect issue, but it was good, and I think it’s better for what it means for the future. We’re starting to see some momentum come out of this series, and that’s bringing back the excitement I last felt a year ago with House of X.

X-Men #10 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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