Well, is he dead, or isn’t he? Do we finally get our answer? Your Major Spoilers review of Death Of X #4 awaits!
DEATH OF X #4
Writer: Charles Soule & Jeff Lemire
Penciler: Aaron Kuder & Javier Garron
Inker: Jay Leisten & Javier Garron
Colorist: Morry Hollowell & Jay David Ramos
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Editor: Daniel Ketchum & Wil Moss
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Death Of X: “The Terrigen Mists – the catalyst for the Inhumans’ power – have been discovered to be letyhal to mutants, plunging the world into chaos. Attempting to work with the Inhumans to find a solution, Storm and a team of X-Men join Crystal and her group of Inhumans, including new recruit Daisuke, in Madrid, where they hope to divert the incoming Terrigen cloud and quell the riots that have erupted across the city.
Meanwhile, Cyclops and Emma Frost have allied themselves with mutant supremacist Magneto to find their own solution to the Terrigen clouds. As Magneto distracts Storm and Crystal’s teams and Magik takes Daisuke off the board, Cyclops and his X-Men approach the location of one of the Terrigen clouds with a plan to destroy it.”
AN ARMY OF CHARACTERS
As this issue opens, warfare has also opened between the forces of the Inhumans and the X-Men, as Cyclops prepares to use the young mutant Alchemy (from a long-ago issue of X-Factor, the winning character insa “Create A Character” contest about a million years ago) to transform the Terrigen cloud into something less terrible. The first half of the issue has a lot of “And there’s this guy and this guy and this guy” until it zooms into a conflict between Cyclops’ group and a team of Inhumans led by Black Bolt himself. Alchemy succeeds, albeit with terrible consequences, and Cyclops faces the King Of The Inhumans, committing suicide by Black Bolt.
Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that…
A SHOCKING TWIST ENDING
The book ends with one of the most genuinely disturbing reveals in recent memory (one which I won’t spoil for you, but suffice to say that Cyclops fans might want to pick this one up), both in regards to the loss of Scott Summers and its effects of Emma Frost specifically. With two art teams, this issue almost feels like two separate books smushed up together, but it works in a chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter sort of way. The biggest concern I have about it is the utter bleakness of the whole story; granted, with a title like ‘Death Of X’, it’s clear that we’re going to be dealing with mortality, but the events in this issue feels both inexorable and meaningless, as though we’re watching characters we love throw themselves into a meat grinder of combat for no purpose at all. Whether the meta-narrative of Marvel de-emphasizing the X-Men for the Inhumans is part of that is worth addressing, but overall, this book just made me feel very sad and not at all hopeful for either population of superhumans.
THE BOTTOM LINE: I… DON’T KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS
All in all, it’s a very successful book in terms of story, in terms of character interaction and in terms of pathos regarding the loss of a founding X-Man. Still, there’s just something about this entire series that feels… off? Wrong? Destructive? Still, Death Of X #1 is what is it is, delivering a tense narrative about war, mortality and madness, with a couple of different brands of interesting art (one of which reminds me of a slightly bloopier Frank Quitely, which I love) earning 3 out of 5 stars overall. I don’t entirely know if I can recommend it, but it’s at least an interesting and possibly important book for those interested in the status quo of Marvel mutant/Inhuman conflict…