REVIEW: ‘X-Men,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 2 minutes

X-Men #4 - But Why Tho

X-Men #4 is written by Gerry Duggan, illustrated by Javier Pina, colored by Erick Arciniega, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles. It is published by Marvel Comics. On the day before Halloween, the X-Men are taking a much-needed rest after a string of battles against various foes. However, the demonic Nightmare has come to feast on the mutant heroes’ dreams as he finds them to be the richest source of energy. With the world left undefended from mystic threats in the wake of Doctor Strange’s death, it falls to Jean Grey to battle Nightmare.

This issue marks the series’ first holiday-themed issue, and it comes just in time for Halloween. Appropriately enough, the issue is also titled “Nightmare on 86th Street” in homage to the Nightmare on Elm Street series. And Nightmare is not only the perfect foe for a Halloween-themed issue, but he also fits the recent streak of the X-Men battling all matter of threats. All in all, this is the perfect confluence of events to craft a holiday-themed issue that actually manages to fit with its respective holiday.

The best part of the issue is when Jean confronts Nightmare and proves to be more than a match for the dream-destroying foe. Throughout the issue, the X-Men’s fears are laid on display: Cyclops is afraid of letting down the X-Men and Krakoa, while Wolverine is scared to face her past. Jean’s fears are no less valid; she still carries nightmares about being possessed by the Phoenix Force and slaughtering whole worlds under its influence. However, Jean reveals to Nightmare that she shared her fears with the world during the Hellfire Gala, and has learned to live with them. Duggan is one of the few writers who’s managed to define Jean outside of her connection to the Phoenix, and it’s awesome to see her confront a being as powerful as Nightmare.

Pina and Arciniega take over from the usual art team of Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia, and they lean into the horror elements of the issue-especially when Nightmare shows up. The entity is clad from head to toe in a dark green cloak, and his face is usually shrouded in shadows-save for his twisted grin. Even his word balloons are twisted and jagged and colored pure black to represent the malice he brings into the human words. In contrast, Jean is shown wearing a lighter shade of green, and her psychic powers are colored bright, vibrant pink. The X-Men’s nightmares are awash in a fiery orange color, with Pina showcasing their worst fears in pure detail.

X-Men #4 is the perfect example of how to do a holiday-themed issue, as it leans into the Halloween atmosphere and serves as a character piece for Jean Grey. I’d recommend other creators to look at this comic if they plan to do their own holiday-themed issues. And even though this issue is a bit of a ‘breather episode,’ it ends with a new foe heading to the X-Men’s newly terraformed nation of Arakko.

X-Men #4 is available wherever comics are sold.


X-Men #4
5

TL;DR

X-Men #4 is the perfect example of how to do a holiday-themed issue, as it leans into the Halloween atmosphere and serves as a character piece for Jean Grey. I’d recommend other creators to look at this comic if they plan to do their own holiday-themed issues. And even though this issue is a bit of a ‘breather episode,’ it ends with a new foe heading to the X-Men’s newly terraformed nation of Arakko.