Destiny of X thus far has been defined by potential. In some cases, it’s been exploring and setting up interesting things to pay off later. But in X-Men Red #3 we get see what this era can be, in perhaps the best issue of X-Men since Inferno.
Al Ewing, Stefano Caselli, Federico Blee, and Cory Petit return to the arena, as Brand, Storm, Magneto and the Arakii all come into conflict.
Vulcan has challenged Tarn the Uncaring for his seat in Arakko’s Great Circle. Storm and her Brotherhood know what this could mean for Krakoa and the fragile balance of Arakko’s political environment. Thankfully everyone has a plan, and it could change everything.
Ewing writes a tense, action-packed, character-driven thriller in this issue, and it’s really everything I could have asked for. Every character gets a moment to shine- from Cable and Manifold’s scheming to open the issue, to Sunspot’s jaw-dropping gambit in the middle of the arena. Ewing has a fantastic grasp on this cast, and uses them to perfect effect to drive the plot forward. Without that personal touch, this would have been an interesting plot. With it, it’s elevated into something really special.
Caselli’s art easily lives up to the expectations of the story. One of my favorite things to say about superhero artists is that anyone could do either the quiet moments or the action moments, but the truly great ones can do both. Caselli doesn’t just do both, but he weaves them together in ways that makes the story feel both grand and intimate at the same time. Each character is filled with unique personalities, with body language and mannerisms that match the script perfectly.
Blee’s colors are dark and rich. He continues to improve as a color artist, and I do have to point out that he gets Roberto right, which, given his problems with lightening skin tones in the past, really stands out. Petit’s letters get the balance just write, bringing the script to life and putting the right emphasis on the biggest moments.
The best of this all is that this issue shows what the full set-up of the Destiny of X can be. I can’t wait to see what Ewing does from here on out, especially with Caselli alongside him.
X-Men Red #3 is available now from Marvel Comics.
An near-flawless issue of comics. The creative team comes together perfectly to create one of the best single issues of superhero comics of the year.