REVIEW: ‘X-Men Red,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

X-Men Red #2

X-Men Red #2 is written by Al Ewing, illustrated by Stefano Caselli, colored by Federico Blee, and lettered by VC’s Cory Petit. It’s published by Marvel Comics. Intending to expand her sphere of influence on Arakko, Abigail Brand forms a new team of X-Men, which includes Cyclops’ brother Vulcan. However, she forgot two things. First: Storm has formed a new Brotherhood of Mutants with Magneto and Sunspot. Second: Vulcan’s mental instability makes him more of a liability than an asset.

Similar to how Kieron Gillen is exploring politics on Krakoa with Immortal X-Men, Ewing is exploring how Arakko’s society works. Its population is full of mutants who view strength and combat as the things that make you worthy. That kind of mindset means that they don’t take too well to being saved by Brand’s X-Men — which ends up rubbing Vulcan the wrong way. Props should also go to Ewing for flipping the script on the conflict between the X-Men and the Brotherhood, as the former is merely a stepping stone for Brand’s ambition, and the latter feeds into Storm’s desire to be more than a queen.

The issue also puts its spotlight on Vulcan and his mental health, which is not in the best of shape. He’s hallucinating his former X-Men allies Petra and Sway are accompanying him despite his brother Cyclops and Professor X saying otherwise and craves the power he had when he was emperor of the Shi’ar. One of the best parts of the Krakoa Era has been the utilization of nearly every mutant character in the X-Men mythos, from fan-favorites to lesser-knowns, and X-Men Red looks to continue that tradition by positioning Vulcan as an opposing force to Storm’s role as Arakko’s leader.

Caselli and Blee have the chance to draw the literally explosive aftereffects of Vulcan’s power, as his energy manipulating powers lead to towers of golden flame shooting into the sky. The issue even features a battle against the ancient race of Progenitors — which lets Caselli go full Jack Kirby as he depicts their multi-sided faces and giant glowing bodies. Finally, the differences between Brand’s X-Men and the Brotherhood extend to their uniforms. The X-Men have sleeker, space-age uniforms that are color-coded, while the Brotherhood differs in their costumes. Storm’s is the standout, as it incorporates elements from her punk rock era and features golden elements, giving it a regal touch.

Finally, Petit takes over lettering duties from VC’s Ariana Maher. The lettering undergoes a slight shift, as Petit’s letters are a bit larger than Maher’s. The Progenitors even have their own language. Their lettering resembles computer code – complete with backslashes and question marks where letters should be; that simple touch makes them feel genuinely alien. The most creative use of lettering goes to the moment where Storm bests Vulcan in combat. As she pulls energy from him, a “Kra-Koom” sound effect takes the shape of a thunderbolt arching up into the sky.

X-Men Red #2 begins to draw lines in the sands of Arrako as Storm forms a new Brotherhood of Mutants and weathers the fury of Vulcan. The next issue will reportedly feature Thunderbird in a major role, which should be interesting given that his temperament is perfect for Arakko culture. And it’ll be interesting to see which side he joins.

X-Men Red #2 is available now wherever comics are sold.


X-Men Red #2
5

TL;DR

X-Men Red #2 begins to draw lines in the sands of Arrako as Storm forms a new Brotherhood of Mutants and weathers the fury of Vulcan. The next issue will reportedly feature Thunderbird in a major role, which should be interesting given that his temperament is perfect for Arakko culture. And it’ll be interesting to see which side he joins.