Talon is dead, and Cyclops is still in captivity. Can the X-Men release the kill switch Orchis implanted in the brains of humans? Find out in X-Men #31 by Marvel Comics!
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Phil Noto
Colorist: Phil Noto
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Jordan White
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 7th, 2024
Previously in X-Men: After Orchis’ attack on the Hellfire Gala and their anti-mutant campaign, Synch and Talon stepped up to lead what was left of mutant kind. However, Orchis embedded a kill code into Krakoan medicine and turned humans into walking hostages. Synch and Talon went to get a bioweapon that could sterilize humanity, and while that mission was a success, Talon was killed, and Synch used Jean Grey’s mutant powers to pull Talon’s mind into his own.
X-Men #31 starts by revealing that Synch is very sick. He cannot hold Jean Grey’s power forever, and it is destroying his body. Meanwhile, Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel are protecting the computer that is releasing the sterilizing agent when they are attacked by Nimrod. Shadowkat, Wolverine, and Nightcrawler use many tricks in their bag to stop Nimrod, but Nimrod adapts and slowly gets the upper hand. Meanwhile, Synch has to decide to let Talon go and rejoin the fight. With a kiss in Talon’s mind, Talon awakens and leads his X-Men to victory. Though victory is a loose term, as they don’t defeat Nimrod, they just stall him enough to allow the bioweapon to go off. Synch has no time to grieve as they enact the next part of their war on Orchis.
I am unfamiliar with Synch and Talon’s relationship, but how it was portrayed evoked a sense of loss. I mean, it is one thing to lose a loved one; it is another thing to stop fighting for a loved one for the greater good. In X-Men #31, they compare their loss to Wilson Fisk and Typhoid Mary’s reunion. These small touches impress me and show a unique sense of humanity and the perils of war. The writing makes the story for me because it focuses on the relationship between Synch and Talon, not the fight itself, which seemed relatively straightforward and boring. But the characterization is top-notch.
I’m not a big fan of the art in this issue. I like Phil Noto’s art, but some images seem flat and lack the extra flair to make this comic spectacular. I would have picked a couple of pages to emphasize the emotional weight of the art.
I liked the emphasis on characterization in this issue, but I’m surprised we didn’t focus more on the plot. This issue is a significant win for mutants, and I expected a little more fanfare. But perhaps that is being saved for the Fall of the House of X title. Regardless, X-Men #31 is a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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X-Men #31 sets up a beautiful yet tragic conclusion to Synch and Talon’s relationship that makes me grieve for the characters.