REVIEW: ‘X-Men,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 3 minutes

X-Men #5

X-Men #5 is written by Gerry Duggan, illustrated by Javier Pina & Ze Carlos, colored by Erick Arciniega, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles. It is published by Marvel Comics. Part 5 of “Fearless” focuses on a single week in the life of Polaris and her decision to join the X-Men. Meanwhile, Ben Urich’s investigation into the X-Men leads to a discussion with Cyclops— and potentially grave repercussions for the nation of Krakoa.

This issue marks Pina’s second turn on X-Men following the Halloween-themed issue, and he continues to knock it out of the park. From scenes featuring the X-Men’s Proudstar jet hovering in the black void of space to a battle between Polaris and the cybernetic mercenaries known as the Reavers, there are some stunning visuals on display in this comic. It helps that Arciniega is on colors; contrary to his work on Darkhawk, which makes great use of shadows and muted colors, the X-Men’s brighter uniforms instantly draw the reader’s eyes, especially Polaris with her vibrant green hair, trenchcoat, and sunglasses. (It also turns out that Polaris isn’t fond of her sunglasses getting broken— something the Reavers find out the hard way.)

Pina is joined by Carlos, who has contributed to Nick Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man run. He illustrates a brief sequence that features the X-Men battling a horde of mutant animals created by the mysterious Dr. Stasis; one of these animals happens to be a cross between a seal and a Yorkshire terrier which is just as adorable as it sounds. However, I find myself once again wishing that Carlos has the chance to tackle a full issue of a comic one day. So far, he’s been limited to mere pages, which shows off his talent but also places some major limits on him.

I also have a bone to pick with two major decisions in Duggan’s script. The first concerns Polaris; she uses her magnetic powers to manipulate Wolverine’s body while fighting the Reavers. This came off as massively misreading the room to me; Laura Kinney’s entire life as Wolverine is reclaiming a measure of control over her life as she was bred to be a weapon. Polaris using her as a weapon effectively takes away that control, and she didn’t even need to do it in the first place! The Reavers are CYBORGS; they have metal parts she could easily manipulate. The second concerns Jean Grey and Polaris and once again dips into my problems with telepathy. Where is the line drawn when you can read and potentially influence people’s thoughts? Again, Jean is a character who’s struggled with a godlike power and abuse of said power, and it feels like Duggan forgot that.

The issue does end on a high note with the potential revelation of Krakoa’s greatest secret. Ever since House of X and Powers of X, I have to wonder how the world would react to that secret, and now it looks like I have my answer. The only question remains: what will Krakoa do about it? Judging from the next issue’s solicitation, the X-Men are about to get a significant shakeup.

X-Men #5 is a stumble from the series’ previous hot streak, featuring some baffling storytelling and character decisions. Hopefully, the next issue will keep characterization in focus as it introduces the newest member of the mutant heroes.

X-Men #5 is available now wherever comics are sold.


X-Men #5
3.5

TL;DR

X-Men #5 is a stumble from the series’ previous hot streak, featuring some baffling storytelling and character decisions. Hopefully, the next issue will keep characterization in focus as it introduces the newest member of the mutant heroes.