Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Color Artist: Fernando Sifuentes
Letterer & Production: VC’s Ariana Maher
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
The Krakoan era of X-Men comics has represented one of the most ambitious shake ups in recent Marvel history. Unsurprisingly, the book has had both proponents and critics. But a legitimate complaint has been that the overarching plot –the mysteries behind the island nation’s formation and mutantkind’s uncertain future– is moving at a snail’s pace.
Indeed, Krakoan architect Jonathan Hickman left his own project, at least in part, because other writers were enjoying island life too much and resisted moving into Hickman’s second act. Results were hit and miss as creators explored every nook and cranny of life on Krakoa–from the emergence of mutant culture to the fascinating politics of establishing a new nation.
Fortunately, recent titles like X-Men Red have started digging deeper. Once again we are exploring future prospects for the inhabitants of both Krakoa and Arakko.
X-Men Red #3 is Krakoan era fan service done right. The intriguing dynamic of scheming Abigail Brand’s X-Men against Storm, Regent of Mars, and her Brotherhood of Mutants, heats up with some politically charged challenge by combat. Yes, mutants live on Mars now. The X-Men are bad and the Brotherhood is good. Damn this is fun!
The issue includes some of Marvel’s more brutal levels of action, as Tarn the Uncaring does battle with Vulcan. It’s Magneto, however, who pulls off the issue’s lightning bolt moment of poetic carnage.
And as Magneto, alongside never-in-a-million-years-would-I-have-thought comrade Ororo Munroe, entrenches himself deeply into a culture both alien and intimately familiar, one wonders what the heck is in store for these mutants. And that’s what’s so exciting.
On one hand, it feels like writers could tell decades of stories on a mutant planet. These X-Men books are literally reshaping the Marvel universe.
Yet, wherever you look, whether it’s on Krakoa, the red planet, or to the various shadowy corners occupied by Orchis and other enemies of mutantkind, you can’t help but feel an impending sense of doom. This whole thing–it will end eventually. And it will end badly for pretty much everyone. Whether it’s next month or half a decade from now, Krakoa will crumble, and X-Men Red is building brilliantly to that fall.
X-Men Red #3
Storm leads the Brotherhood against Abigail Brand's X-Men on Mars, aka the mutant Planet Arakko. If you're not into that, I don't know what to tell you!