X-ual Healing: A Sweet New Paint Job in X-Men Red #5

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 with a corporate merger on the way, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in comics.

Each week, armed with the joy, heartbreak, and frustration of 30+ years of reading X-Men comics, we read every new X-book that comes out, recap the events, provide the historical context so you can read it on Marvel Unlimited, and wonder when Marvel will let Chris Claremont write something again.

It's the way X-Men comics were meant to be read! It's the column that can only be known as…

X-ual Healing: A Sweet New Paint Job in X-Men Red #5

For more about the column, check out the reboot issue here.

X-ual Healing: A Sweet New Paint Job in X-Men Red #5

• …and Jean Grey is caught right in the middle!
• CASSANDRA NOVA's plan is finally revealed….but to devastating consequences.
• And just because JEAN GREY's team finally knows what's going on, doesn't mean they can actually stop it.
• Someone close to Jean is about to become Nova's latest pawn…but who? And why?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

X-Men Red #5 opens up with Cassandra Nova convincing the president of Poland to sign onto her anti-mutant legislation. Nearby, a human police offer warns a mutant friend that a law going into effect at midnight will target mutants and advises him to leave the country. In Louisiana, anti-mutant protestors gather outside a hospital as TV news discusses David Bushell, the perpetrator of last issue's mutant hate mob shooting. The conservative pundit character blames the mutant for the shooting. News scrolls establish that anti-mutant attacks are taking place around the world, which we know is thanks to Cassandra Nova's nanobots, which turn people into living sentinels.

In the hospital, Bushell is ranting about mutants when Gambit comes to visit, disguised as a member of the hospital staff come to deliver coffee. He incapacitates the policeman standing guard and is surprised to find his X-Men colleagues already sitting with Bushell (who continues to be singularly focused on killing all mutants).

X-ual Healing: A Sweet New Paint Job in X-Men Red #5

Jean explains the status quo to Gambit, and then Trinary uses her power over machines to switch off what we're now calling "the sentinite." Bushell is shocked to learn that he killed someone, and he breaks into tears. Nightcrawler teleports outside to bring Bushell's father in to see his son. Unfortunately, the reunion is brief, as the X-Men need to leave to stop the sentinites around the world. They vow to come back and protect Bushell.

Outside, Gambit is startled by the X-Men's pet sentinel, who has a new paint job.

X-ual Healing: A Sweet New Paint Job in X-Men Red #5

He's also glad to see All-New Wolverine (soon to be X-23) and Gabby, who takes the time to tell readers they met before in Madripoor when Gambit blew her to pieces "for strategic reasons," though the book rudely does not provide an issue reference (it was All-New Wolverine #16). Storm and Gentle are there too, and they announce that they're heading to the Baltic Sea to help some mutant refugees from Poland. Gambit joins the team, and they hop in the sentinel (yes, in the sentinel) and fly away.

Later, in Poland, some mutants are on the beach trying to escape by boat. The mutant who was warned in the opening is there. Soldiers in humvees are advancing on the mutants, warning them to surrender. Thankfully, the X-Men arrive just in time, and they know how to make an entrance, touching down in a giant sentinel with Storm's lightning striking the ground ahead of them.

X-ual Healing: A Sweet New Paint Job in X-Men Red #5

Unfortunately, the soldiers, described as kids with guns and orders, are nervous, and they attack. The X-Men protect the mutants and disable the weapons, until Jean user her telepathy to show everyone what they're doing wrong. Most of the soldiers drop their weapons, but one isn't buying it. He aims at Jean, but Namor shows up and uses his status as the King of Atlantis to demand the soldiers let the mutants go lest he impose trade sanctions. The general is still reluctant to let "The Mutant Nation" take custody of these mutants, but Jean forces him to feel shame for his actions.

Afterward, Nightcrawler asks Jean if she manipulated the minds of the soldiers earlier, but she says she just merged the minds of the mutants and the soldiers, allowing them to see things from the other point of view and realize that mutants are people too.

Jean vows that the X-Men will "weaponize" the truth, and the story ends there. However, we do get an epilogue in the form of an Extermination prologue, in which the X-Men Red are under attack in Atlantis twenty years in the future. Jean drops a pretty significant spoiler…

X-ual Healing: A Sweet New Paint Job in X-Men Red #5

She says it's happening everywhere (that's how a crossover works) and there's nowhere left for mutants to run. In a theme of these prologues, the X-Men Red roster is the same and so are their costumes, twenty years in the future. And that's Marvel time too, which means it's probably 100 years in the future in real-world publishing time. Is this a promise that none of the X-titles will be relaunched for 100 years? We're going to take it that way and get really offended if it's not the case.

The Bottom Line

X-Men Red is a solid book and this is a solid issue. When it first launched, we thought it might be the best of the main three X-books, and it's not that it's gotten worse, but since it launched, the others seem to have stepped up their game. Now we're as excited for any of the three, which is a really good thing. Hopefully it carries over when they reboot Uncanny X-Men and cancel them all.

Further Reading

Gambit teams up with Gabby and Laura in the Enemy of the State 2 storyline, starting in All-New Wolverine #13. Read it on Marvel Unlimited.

Read more X-ual Healing here:

X-ual Healing: A Sweet New Paint Job in X-Men Red #5

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About Jude Terror

A prophecy once said that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero would come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events. Sadly, that prophecy was wrong. Oh, Jude Terror was right. For ten years. About everything. But nobody listened. And so, Jude Terror has moved on to a more important mission: turning Bleeding Cool into a pro wrestling dirt sheet!
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