What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about X-Men #18! You know the issue where they finally show us what happened to that group of mutants they sent into the vault? Dear god, I almost thought that this was something they were never going to get back to. In fact, I actually forgot all about this plot they set up because it was so far back towards the beginning of this book. Which of course stung a bit since for an X-fan like me it was an exciting moment to see that they had actually taken this opportunity to bring back a character with so much potential like Synch.
Now what also made this issue such a treat was the fact that we weren’t just returning to these characters. We were actually being given the chance to see what they experienced while they were in the vault. If that was really what they were going to spend a whole issue on? I was completely fine with it since this was something I personally felt like we were owed. Especially considering what entire issues were spent on other things. So having said that, from the beginning they were quick to grab our attention because the impression created from the approach they took to account for events was that something clearly went wrong. As I have said, it has been a long time since this trio went into the vault. Even the story itself acknowledged the timetable expected for this mission. Which meant that off the bat we were being led to question what must have happened in there that this mission was still ongoing, or even failed.
Even by the end of the issue it is unsure how things ended, or even where this is all leading to, but you had to enjoy this story for the experience. That is in spite of it being a short one. truthfully, I also expected that a lot more would happen than what we had seen. Especially to justify what apparently was a long time that they were in the vault. Though at the very least I could appreciate seeing some of these mutants in action, who we haven’t seen in action for quite some time.
It was through this issue that we were also able to remember what other threats exist for the mutant population. After the incident which set this mission in motion, it was easy to forget about the Children of the Vault, or what would happen if the vault was opened. With the Arrako emergence, and the X of Swords craziness, or even the invasion of Knull, everything else felt either secondary or non-existent. So seeing what went on inside of the vault added the clarity to this threat that was missing from this book. At the same time seeing the children in action created a great sense of terror for anyone who is a fan of this team of mutants. To say that they threw themselves into a situation where none of them were probably walking out alive was one heck of an understatement.
Beyond this, what I loved about this issue was the research page which once again focused on Synch. The last time we read one of these inserts, they were focused on the mental state of someone like Synch who was dead for as many years as he was. Though this time around they focused on what that has done to his powers. I couldn’t help but find myself thrilled by the new exploration into what he is capable of, and what we now know most are newly capable of when they are resurrected through the Phoenix Protocol.
Considering the kind of world we were stepping into within the vault, I was happy that they put the right artists on this issue. There are some placed you don’t expect to explore in this book, and one of those places was definitely the vault. I for one was stunned by the visual this art team was able to create of how the vault is one of those settings where everything is bigger on the inside. You could tell that there was patience and attention to detail that went into this. Including the design of the rest of the Children of the Vault who you may or may not remember fully visually. I also think the best decision for this issue was that this took place later in the series. If this was one of the earlier issues, we would have run into the same problems we did back then, which was feeling distracted by characters who were either too stiff or emotionless. Fortunately that was not the case thanks to the penciler we have now. Aside from this, the colors were great too. They were bold, and they made the action pop when things got explosive.
In the end, X-Men #18 was well worth the wait. I for one want to see what comes next too, because there still seems to be more to this that the following issue should get back to.