By Jonathan Hickman and Phil Noto
As all of the aftermath issues wrap up for X of Swords, X-Men comes out this week to show us what the flagship book is doing. As you might have guessed, this issue contains politics, love and of course, the Summers family.
Cyclops and his kids are investigating why Arrako and Krakoa are no longer joined. The short answer to this is that there is some lost love between the islands. What Jonathan Hickman does better than any current writer, is build worlds. This issue he does a great job building, and also setting up some stories we’ll see in the future. There is a couple of pages in this issue where Xavier and Magneto go to Arakko to talk with Isca. Hickman makes it very clear how different these two islands are. If we look through to the underlying point, this is an argument about an island raised with privilege and one raised in war. Hickman hammer home how different they are and uses Isca as the perfect vehicle for that. The best and most interesting part of the issue takes place between Scott, Jean, Xavier and Magneto. Hickman shows us that Scott and Jean have different ideas about what they should be doing on Krakoa. Hickman again uses Scott and Jean to represent us; people fighting for people. All of these developments and the great characterization make X-Men #16 a must read issue.
The pencil and colors this issue are handled by Phil Noto. This was a very well drawn and colored issue for Noto. Some have said his colors can be a little messy, but he refines his work this week and really does a phenomenal job. We see in the early pages of the book as Cyclops is out with his kids, Noto’s pencils look clean and crisp. As we move onto the council pages, Noto has a lot of close up characters to draw, and he knocks them all out of the park. Magneto looks great, he honestly looks like someone’s real life grandfather. The colors are also amazing for this section of the book. As you scroll through the close ups, look at the slight difference in blue from Mystique and Nightcrawler. It’s a very slight shade difference, but it matters. Noto also draws and colors a great Isca. Her pages with Xavier and Magneto are some of the best drawn and colored in the whole issue. Her color scheme and facial expressions constantly have you staring at her as she is on panel. An overall excellent effort from Phil Noto that solidifies this issue as the top book of the week.
X-Men #16 is an awesome book for many reasons, but that’s pretty much what we’ve come to expect from Jonathan Hickman. His writing has set up this series for months, if not years, to come. Phil Noto’s work looks like some of the best of his career to date. X-Men is hands down the X-book to read.