By Gerry Duggan, Javier Pina and Erick Arciniega
Everyone loves a little horror in their superhero comics from time to time. This week X-Men #4 gives us a scary story just in time for Halloween. It’s a good bet that anytime Nightmare shows up, things are going to get a little spookier. While the X-Men are used to facing real world danger, like discrimination, it’s great to see them face off with a creep like Nightmare who doesn’t usually visit the mutants often, or at all.
Gerry Duggan has been doing a fine job filling in for Jonathan Hickman. This issue only features 3 X-Men, and with a smaller cast it’s easier to showcase each character. Duggan allows Jean to shine in this issue. He solidifies that she is a power house and should not be messed with. Duggan shows us what Cyclops, Jean and Wolverine all fear through their nightmares. Scott Fears being untrue to himself and being a bad leader. Wolverine fears her memories, or lack there of, from the vault. These are the things Nightmare preys on. My one gripe with the issue is the inclusion of Wolverine. She seemed unnecessary and had very little page time. I do like that Duggan is building off of what Hickman did between Wolverine and Synch in the vault. This issue is another solid entry into Duggan’s X-Men run. I’m sure once things settle down after Inferno Duggan will really be able to explore what he wants.
The pencils this issue are handled by Javier Pina with colors by Erick Arciniega. Pina does a fantastic job of taking over for Pepe Larraz. Nightmare looks vicious and creepy at the same time. There is a really great panel in this issue where Scott is in a coffin with a sign saying he was wrong as the world burns behind him. Pina also does an amazing job of matching up Cyclops’ costumes as he has flashbacks. This ranges from when he was brought back through time as a teenager, to his relationship with Emma, etc. Jean looks electric as she battles Nightmare. The green from Jean’s outfit is eye catching, and that is due to the great colors from Erick Arciniega. The mood and tone of the pages with Ben Urich continue to set the tone for the creepy story about him discovering the mutants resurrection. The pencils and colors add a significant amount of pizzaz to the creepy story.
X-Men #4 is a good entry into the creepy side of the X-Men mythos. Gerry Duggan is picking up and using the ground work that Jonathan Hickman laid out. The art is a thing of beauty this issue. If you’re in the mood for a creepy superhero book this week, X-Men #4 should whet your whistle.