Last week saw just two X-books hit the stands: X-Men #4 and Marauders #5. When the flagship X-Men comic goes head to head with everyone's beloved Kate Pryde bender book, which will come out the winner? To start, we recap X-Men #4 below.
Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but thanks to a corporate merger and a line-wide relaunch, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.
What happened in X-Men #4?
X-MEN #4 DX
(W) Jonathan Hickman (A/CA) Leinil Francis Yu
The Krakoan leaders attend and economic forum to show the humans what real power looks like
In Shops: Jan 01, 2020
This entire issue consists of a dinner meeting with diplomats at the World Economic Forum in Davos attended by Charles Xavier, Magneto, and Apocalypse as delegates from Krakoa, along with diplomats from Wakanda, China, the United States, Brazil, Italy, Switzerland, and India. Gorgon and Cyclops are along for the ride as well to provide security for the mutants, and they're forced to wait outside the room where the dinner is taking place.
Inside, after pleasantries are exchanged and Apocalypse makes clear that humans aren't fit to use his other names, everyone sits down to eat. Xavier immediately uses his telepathy to detect that there are two strike teams waiting to converge on the dinner and presumably assassinate the mutants, so he lets Cyclops know about it. The issue switches back and forth between the action of Cyclops and Gorgon kicking the strike teams' asses while inside the dinner, the mutants engage in verbal sparring with the humans, earning the begrudging respect of the Wakandans and Indians, but the increased ire of the Americans… probably because the American diplomat is responsible for the strike teams, and he keeps receiving bad news on his earpiece.
The gist of the conversation at the dinner is that the humans are all like, "why you being so mean, mutants," but the mutants are like, "dude, you tried to exterminate us like thousands of times over the past few decades" and "we learned it from watching you, dad!" Ultimately, Magneto says mutants will rule the human race without any use of force through oppressive capitalism. Xavier says he loves humans and hasn't given up on them even though they keep trying to kill him and even were going to try to kill him today before his boys took out their strike team. The American ambassador is all like, "who, me?" but no one buys it. The mutants warn that this was a freebie but next time they're going to fight back. Everyone goes home.
Was it any good?
This issue really served to spell out the Krakoan agenda as well as anything. Magneto's diatribe about turning all of humanity's economic and social tools against them was badass, even if Magneto was chewing his food the entire time he was talking, which is gross. Xavier and friends are very confident, though you know what they say: pride goeth before a fall. This is one of those issues where, yeah, it was fun to read, but did this one scene really require an entire issue? It surely could have been accomplished in a few pages, but comic book creators these days seem to think they're making prestige television rather than comic books that cost $4 a pop and take a month until the next episode. As storytelling in another format, the issue was great, but I feel that this sort of thing fails to live up to the potential of the comics medium. It could have easily been the storyboards for an episode of a television show. Sure, you can pretend your comic is a television show, anyone can do that. But a television show can't be a comic. Play to comics unique strengths and get rid of the excessive decompression, for chrissakes.
Of course, I understand I'm yelling at clouds here as this is just how comics are done these days. I hope Hickman does get to pursue his TV writing career after he's done with all this though, it will probably make him very happy.
The bottom line: the issue was enjoyable, an effective character study of Xavier, Magneto, and Apocalypse, and packed with clever dialogue, but decompression is one of my pet peeves and also a fact of life in comics today, so my ranting about it is probably pointless.
Marauders #5 is up next, so check back soon! After that, we pick a weiner… we mean winner.
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