By Jonathan Hickman, Mahmud Asrar and Sunny Gho
This is the beginning of the end of X of Swords. The big 22 part event hits us with the last 3 issues this week, starting with X-Men #15. This is a bit different from the previous issues since it takes the focus off of the battle for the most part. Scott and Jean take center stage and take a plan to the council. This isn’t how things used to be done with the X-Men, but things have certainly changed. This issue sets up and shows us who the true heroes are in the X-Universe. As with any big event, things will not be the same afterwards.
Jonathan Hickman is simply one of the best writers in the comics business. His run on X-Men so far has been the most fun since Joss Whedon put out Astonishing X-Men. Hickman loves to world build, and he loves to set things in motion for future storylines, which he does wonderfully here. The issue mostly focuses on Cyclops and Jean as they ask the council for permission to go to Otherworld. As expected, this was not met with their favor. Hickman shows Scott and JEan as the heroes they truly are. With their lives on the line, and the potential to ruin something good in Krakoa, the two mutant powerhouses step up to the plate. Hickman also presents both sides of the argument well. Seeing what Sebastian Shaw and Exodus are saying for their reason to vote against Cyclops’ plan is reasonable. When you read the issue it doesn’t come off like they’re being mean or villains for the sake of it. They have legitimate reasons for wanting to stay out of the fight. On the battlefield, Apocalypse fights his wife. This is something we have expected since her identity was revealed. What wasn’t expected was the emotion Hickman is able to pull out of you as you read this fight. This was an exciting issue. Waiting to see how everything played out was something I was waiting for, and I wasn’t disappointed by this book.
The pencils this issue are handled by Mahmud Asrar with colors by Sunny Gho. Asrar’s work is great this issue, and we’re drawn in from the first page. Cyclops looking over a gorgeous waterfall on Krakoa sets the tone for the rest of the book. As Scott and JEan go to face the council, we see all the characters gathered around their table with sunlight coming in. This is another well drawn page, with beautiful colors by Sunny Gho. The battle pages work well, and are easy to follow. Gho uses simple but effective colored backgrounds. You could see a red Background as Genesis raises her sword, or a black background as Apocalypse pulls up a broken sword. Asrar and Gho make a good team and I hope to see more of their work together in the future.
X-Men #15 is everything you would want out of a comic book. There is political drama, a battle, and heroes doing the right thing. Jonathan Hickman turns in a flawless issue that will surely get you excited for the next part of the event. The pencils and colors are great here as well. Asrar and Gho knock it out of the park and come through when they are needed. X-Men #15 is the best issue of the event so far.