Review: ‘X-Men’ #19 Changes The Game… In More Ways Than One

by Tony Thornley

Over a year ago, three X-Men entered the Vault. It was a mission that they knew they may not all walk away from. It was a mission that could change Krakoa as we knew it. And X-Men #19 tells the next chapter in their story.

Cover by Leinil Yu & Sunny Gho

These three young X-Men were fan favorites at best. However, this story clearly sets each of them up for so much more. It comes to us from Jonathan Hickman, Mahmud Asrar, Sunny Gho, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller.

Synch, Wolverine, and Darwin are trapped in the Vault with the Children. In the course of the next 500 years, the trio do their best to find the mission of the Vault. What they find will change the course of Krakoa and mutantkind forever.

After last issue, I was worried about where this story would go. However, I’m confident to say this one of Hickman’s best yet. It’s an effective action story, even with the issue only giving us glimpses of story over the course of years. The narration allows us a glimpse into the team’s desperation and their struggle, while the minimal dialogue conveys the emotions and the bond formed among this small team. In just a few captions and a handful of balloons (done masterfully by Cowles), he’s able to establish a romance between Everett and Laura that sticks with you past the end of the issue.

Asrar and Gho are equal partners in this stunning issue. What they’re able to convey in a single look between Ev and Laura, or by slightly altering the quality of the color is as much storytelling as Hickman’s words. Their work on the sci-fi landscape of the City- the Vault’s central hub- is an astonishing mix of design work and world building. The same goes for the designs of the Children, giving each new generation of the Children of the Vault meaner and angrier designs. The action that comes with that is just what the story needs too, especially near the end of the issue when Wolverine cuts loose after sharing one last look with the name she loves.

Discussion of the issue can’t be had without looking at Hickman and Muller’s design work. With just three colored lines and a few data points, the duo are able to fill in the gaps between vignettes by Hickman, Asrar and team. It’s sparse, but it allows the reader to fill in a lot of detail in their head. It simply works.

The ramifications of this issue are going to be big for the X-Men line. Exactly what they are though? We’ll have to wait and see.

X-Men #19 is available now from Marvel Comics.

Overview

The creative team makes the most of minimal space. They create a decades-long narrative in the space of 28 pages that doesn’t feel compressed or rushed. It’s a gorgeous issue that makes us care for the characters and sets up important plots for the future, all while giving readers some killer action set-pieces. 

Overall
9.5/10
9.5/10
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