ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘X-Men Red,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

X-Men Red #1 - But Why Tho

X-Men Red #1 is written by Al Ewing, illustrated by Stefano Caselli, colored by Federico Blee, and lettered by VC’s Ariana Maher. It’s published by Marvel Comics. During the first Hellfire Gala, the X-Men terraformed Mars, transforming it into a habitat for the mutants of Krakoa’s sister island Arrako. Storm took over as Regent of Arrako but struggles with her new title and place in the X-Men’s hierarchy. Meanwhile, Magneto travels to Mars as self-imposed penance after his departure from the Quiet Council. Abigail Brand continues her secret agenda to take control of Arakko; Sunspot launches a counter-offensive by seeking new allies.

This book continues Ewing’s status as one of the stewards of Marvel’s cosmic characters, following his run on S.W.O.R.D. and taking over the Venom series. And considering many of the X-Men’s adventures have taken place in space, X-Men Red also serves as another way for the Krakoa era to put a new spin on well-worn tropes associated with the franchise. In the same way that Kieron Gillen is delving into the politics of Krakoa with Immortal X-Men, Ewing does the same with Arakko. Storm rules over a race of mutants who have known only war for centuries and now live on what was once a harsh, unforgiving planet. Combined with Brand’s machinations, this is a powder keg waiting to explode, and no doubt future issues will be dedicated to the moments before that explosion.

Ewing also places Storm, Magneto, and Sunspot as the major players of the title. Each is dealing with their own issues; Ororo feels uncomfortable with her role as Regent to the point where she asks people not to call her “queen” despite the fact that it’s technically her title. Magneto, carrying immense guilt over the actions he and Charles Xavier took to form Krakoa, has essentially traveled to Mars to live out the rest of his days. And Sunspot, looking for business opportunities, runs afoul of Cyclops’ brother Vulcan who seeks to reclaim his throne on the Shi’ar empire. The three unite at the end, hinting at a dynamic that’s reminiscent of the one between Star-Lord, Gamora, and Nova in Ewing’s Guardians of the Galaxy series.

After helping shake Krakoa to its core in the Inferno miniseries, Caselli returns to illustrate X-Men Red and it looks phenomenal. Much like Krakoa, Arakko is a world teeming with lush vegetation and rocky cliffs. The action also hits harder than expected; a fight between Sunspot and Vulcan leaves Sunspot with a black eye and swollen jaw which Caselli depicts in great detail. Storm, however, is the standout. Caselli draws her trademark white hair as having the texture of a cloud, which makes for a striking visual when she uses her powers to summon the weather.

Blee takes the “Red” part of the book seriously; the skies of Arakko are reddish-orange, Magneto switches back to wearing his classic red and purple costume, and other characters like Thunderbird and Isca the Unbeaten wear red (or in Isca’s case, ARE red). Even Maher’s letters turn red when it comes to the data pages; the actions taken by the Great Ring of Arakko hit with more of an impact when depicted in bright red. The other recurring colors are black and yellow, which show up in Storm’s regal attire and when Sunspot uses his solar powers.

X-Men Red #1 launches a new era of cosmic adventures for the X-Men while also setting up rich character journeys for fan-favorite characters including Storm and Magneto. Whether you’re a lifelong X-Men fan or have gotten into the franchise via House of X/Powers of X, this is a great jumping-on point. The Destiny of X is proving to be a much-needed creative jump start for the X-titles.

X-Men Red #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on April 6, 2022.


X-Men Red #1
5

TL;DR

X-Men Red #1 launches a new era of cosmic adventures for the X-Men while also setting up rich character journeys for fan-favorite characters including Storm and Magneto. Whether you’re a lifelong X-Men fan or have gotten into the franchise via House of X/Powers of X, this is a great jumping-on point. The Destiny of X is proving to be a much-needed creative jump start for the X-titles.