After the ending of X-Men #5, Cyclops and Professor X sent X-23, Synch and Darwin into the vault to find the children of the vault. Scott immediately questioned the decision and the mutants were not expected to be seen anytime soon. Flash forward to X-Men #18, and we are revisiting the trio of mutants and what has happened to them since they were able to get inside.
Jonathan Hickman is a writer who loves setting things up. This issue doesn’t necessarily give us a bunch of answers, but it does set things up for what is coming next. Hickman allows Synch to be the narrator, which is a good point of view to have. This issue works as a reintroduction to Synch, who has been dead for a very long time. The children of the vault don’t have much of a role here, and this issue is a quick read. Hickman does utilize the 3 mutants that he’s chosen in specific ways. Darwin is able to adjust to whatever situation he’s in, which makes him a logical choice. X-23 is the enforcer with the healing factor, and Synch is the back up to both. Hickman does a little exploring with where Synch is now with his powers. He’s definitely not the same mutant he was before, and he is able to do things that he wasn’t able to anymore. X-Men #18 serves as a set up for what is coming next issue.
The pencils this issue are handled by Mahmud Asrar with colors by Sunny Gho. Asrar is a good artist who has seen his star rising at Marvel. He does good work in this issue, and the pages where there is a black background and Synch and X-23 or Wolverine are featured solo, are some of his best work on this issue. The background allows the character to be the sole focus on each panel. Asrar has clean lines and great inks. The colors for these pages by Sunny Gho really help out. The yellow from Laura’s costume shines with the black background, There is also a panel where there is a rainbow like glow coming off of Synch that looks great. The fight panels are good. There is one where X-23/Wolverine has her claws out and Synch is holding her back. Sunny Gho uses a plain red background this time that allows the characters to pop out. The pencils and colors are a perfect compliment to the story.
X-Men #18 sets up what should be an exciting conclusion to the children of the vault story. Jonathan Hickman continues to build up characters and stories that are going to pay off later down the road. You won’t find a better long term comic writer that Jonathan Hickman. The pencils and colors really shine this issue as we get many pages that highlight the character. X-Men #18 is a quick but effective read.