By Jonathan Hickman, R. B. Silva and Marte Gracia
Throughout this new X-title re-launch, X-Men has been a popular book. While each book has it’s own distinct feel, X-Men seems to be the winner of the flagship title. Being written by Jonathan Hickman certainly helps, and it also focuses on Cyclops as the leader of the X-Men. Since this is essentially the only book he appears in, it makes X-Men an important book. As we roll into our 5th issue, we start to see things take shape. Jonathan Hickman is a world builder, but what he builds isn’t always what we want. That is the greatness of a Hickman book.
X-Men has pretty much been several one-shot stories that wrap up in a single issue. We’re used to Hickman giving us a long story that he builds from the first issue and has huge payoffs as we go along. Make no mistake, all these seeds he’s planted (lame pun alert) will pay off. This week, Cyclops and Professor X send 3 mutants to deal with the Children of the Vault. Hickman loves bringing back obscure characters and villains, and these ones come all the way back from Mike Carey’s run on X-Men. Hickman uses the characters in this issue well. Cyclops, Storm and Armor work together as a unit and compliment each other as a team. Many fans will rejoice with the return of Synch, who is a cool character and integral to this issue. We get a dialogue page that digs into how Synch was brought back, and Hickman’s reasoning is very creative. Hickman has made it a point to show us multiple sides of Cyclops throughout his five issues. This issue Hickman shows us some remorse on Scott. It’s interesting because Cyclops has been pretty cool and collected so far, but this is the first time we see him question himself. This issue is another stellar entry into the Hick-Men mythos.
The pencils this issue are handled by R. B. Silva with colors by Marte Gracia. Silva has a great style, and he’s able to show it off here. A large panel of Wolverine showing up on the scene is amazing. His scale is great and he looks like the tough bruiser we all love. As we see Synch, X-23 and Darwin all listening to their mission briefing, Silva draws them perfectly and has them all positioned differently. Composition matters, and Silva crushes this issue. The colors by Gracia are just as important as Silva’s pencils. This is a darker issue in terms of color. Panels where Storm attacks a sentinel, she is essentially silhouetted out, but the bright white of her massive lighting bolf draws your attention. A panel with Cyclops and Armor fighting also will make you look at the varying colors of red Gracia uses on the panel. The art is just as amazing as the story for this issue.
X-Men #5 continues Hickman’s hot streak in the X-Universe. Hickman is building up to something special, and every week is a surprise on what we’ll see next. The art by Silva and Gracia is great. This is a tandem that works well together and just put out exceptional work. X-Men is a must read series!