What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about X-Men #5! Hickman outdid himself with what was the first X-Men issue released this year. You had to love what comes from Xavier, Magneto, AND Apocalypse walking into a United Nations meeting and owning it. That right there is how you send a message to the world at large that you are a force to be reckoned with, and unforgiving to those who forget that. It was only unfortunate that they just so happened to unleash another enemy into the world in the process.
This right here was a huge issue for X-Men fans! Since the minute we were hit with that page which revealed the return of both Synch and Darwin, this has been one of the most anticipated issues of a Dawn of X book so far. It certainly was for me because I always felt like it was a crime that we lost Synch when we did. Especially after learning of what a mutant like him should have been capable of if he was allowed to continue growing his powers. The same could be said for Darwin who may not have been dead, but was missing for a long while. This is the kind of mutant you are always looking for when wondering which one could turn the tides of a bad situation. Credit where it is due with Hickman because this is a writer who knows how to use a library of characters. He proved this before with the Avengers, and does so consistently with the X-Men. At the same time it was great o see how this Laura still takes on the title of Wolverine, and that those like Armor are not forgotten as X-Men with very useful powers to be taken advantage of.
With that said, I was still surprised that this enemy would have to be Serafin. We could have probably had to deal with a lot of other enemies, though it made sense that it should be an enemy like her. If there’s one thing we know better than anything else about the future of the mutants, it is the idea that the machines are going to become their greatest enemy, as per usual. This little slip up allowing Serafin to run free may not exactly set those events in motion, but the danger is always there with the existence of such entities on the loose. With that said, the exploration of what she represents as a Child of the Vault was quite the adventure for those of us who may have forgotten just who they are. Plots involving time are always both bold and risky, but I think Hickman handled it very well as problem the X-Men know how to deal with.
Compared to the issues before, this one was certainly a fast read. For as much that we got out of this issue, somehow it also felt like there wasn’t a lot at the same time. It could have been because there was more of the research pages used inbetween, but right now it’s hard to argue with how much that adds to the story. Not all storytelling has to be told through the company of imagery. So when you look back at just those research pages there was enough to still digest.
As the issues pass, it does become easier to see some of the concerns that readers have about the interior work from this art team. Specifically speaking of the work from R.B. Silva. For all the detail and stunning work that goes into the way he renders a scene, it still matters just as much to breathe life into the characters. That is where he has been lacking for most of this run so far. Now I personally would give Silva a break for this issue in particular because it looked like he really tried to help these characters emote more than they usually did. There are more scenes where the X-Men are in serious mode, but there are still enough where we need to see these characters naturally look happy, upset, anything outside of angry or stern. Even if the examples are small in this chapter, it’s still something. With that said, Silva did excellent when it came to creating this cross between a temporal and digital world the mutants and Serafin stepped into. The colors also made a big difference there too. As a whole, Marte Garcia did brilliant work taking us from one world into the next. He has a noticeable mastery over colors which strongly influence the tone and atmosphere of where each scene takes us. The warm colors of the outside world, coldness of the locations where the X-Men plot their next moves, and luminosity of places with a singular light source.
All in all, X-Men #5 was worth the wait for the new danger set-up through this chapter, and the return of X-Men who truly are too much of difference-makers to ever be forgotten in the Dawn of X.