What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about X-Men #11! Still with this new issue of X-Men, I found myself very hesitant about jumping into it. The book has been great, but part of me does not believe that this was the right time to begin interfering with the X-Men’s stories for the sake of involving them in a tie-in. One could say that right now they aren’t sucking the mutants into the big war, but that could easily change, and right now I would say that it is highly unnecessary.
With this issue, I was surprised that so soon we would run into Summoner again. This has been a character of mystery so far considering there is not much to know about this guy aside from his connections to Apocalypse and his origins stemming from Arakko. It was just as interesting that they chose an interaction with him as the opening scene for the issue. We knew that the main objective was to create a conflict with the Cotati, so it definitive caught you off guard that there would be time to focus on Summoner. For the most part, I was alright with what unfolded, because at the end of the day he was someone I found more worthy of my attention given what this means for the actual upcoming X-Men event. Overall, it was just good to know that they weren’t trying to put everything on hold for the sake of this distraction from the Cotati.
Now with that said, I do feel like I need to dial back on how I felt about this whole tie-in situation. You must understand, it’s hard not to see a Marvel book and not fear for what’s about to happen to the direction of the story because they want to take away what is self-contained. However, what happened here with the Cotati invasion of Krakoa? That was anything but what I fear would strip this book of it being self-contained. In fact, I was left stunned by how they used this army to make an example out of how far the mutants have come in terms of preparedness for war. This could have gone south in so many ways, but you never would have guessed the measures that would have been taken to give them an edge on their own turf. Especially having one Magneto who truly pulled no punches.
It also goes without saying that with the research pages this week, there was a lot which I think was worth a conversation about. When the Krakoa nation was created, the first thing which came to everyone’s minds was how different this could be from the last few attempts at creating a safe haven for mutants, away from humanity. Putting all the mutants together could create another situation where the right attack could cost millions of lives again. So it was major that this creative team found the room to address this in plans which the council made to prepare for the worst, if war came to their doorstep. Even the concerns they raised themselves about the preparedness of the mutants as a whole made sense considering many on this island have been letting their guard down. The only thing which could have made it better was seeing some visuals of the contingencies they put in place.
For this story in particular I would say that Leinil Francis Yu has been fitting as the artist. Off the bat his style of drawing these characters matched the atmosphere that comes with persons of interest like Summoner. A lot is a mystery about this character, and he captured that sense of mystery through his reactions and solid facial expressions. From there, of course Yu does tend to do his best work when it involves natural elements. It’s one thing when he is just bringing out the beauty in Krakoa, but now he also has the room to play with the Cotati as well. Their designs are just as intricate as the plant life that you see on the island. That said, what excited me about this issue visually was seeing Magneto in action. This issue was all him, and they did not fail to let him shine. I mean, we have seen Magneto do a lot of things with metal. But this was literally page after page of Magneto being a one-man army. The only thing which impressed me more was the quality in detail that went into the scale of this war. Yu did not skip a beat once, and neither did Sunny Gho who marvelously rendered it all with color. Didn’t even get carried away with too much boldness in color, so every detail of the battle was something you could take in on it’s own.
I picked up this issue of X-Men expecting to be let down. Yet somehow I walked away from this satisfied in ways I did not think possible for a tie-in to Empyre of all stories. This creative team made this story their own, and the best takeaway was knowing that Krakoa is more prepared than any other attempt at making an island nation.