Picking up after the events of Inferno which changed the Quiet Council and Krakoa forever, Immortal X-Men dives into the messy politics that come with running a nation filled with telepaths, precogs and angry guys with claws. For those that have enjoyed the brief moments in the Krakoa era so far where we explore the inner workings of the Quiet Council, this is absolutely the book for you. With each issue focused on a singular member of the council’s viewpoint Kieron Gillen is really digging into this fascinating group of conflicting personalities and agendas that are bound to end up destroying each other, Krakoa or the world with their squabbles and schemes.
Kicking off the Second Krakoan Age and this new Destiny of X era, Immortal X-Men #1 is faced with a difficult task from the start. House of X and Powers of X was a fantastic and hugely ambitious starting point that completely revitalised the X-men franchise, setting the stage for endless new stories. But it’s hard not to feel that the line has gradually stagnated since then, especially recently, and a lot of the great promise of Krakoa has been left unrealised. And after 10 weeks of X Lives/Deaths of Wolverine, it was easy to be a little concerned about where the line was going without Hickman as the Head of X. Immortal needed to bring back that feeling of excitement for where Mutantkind is heading, and it definitely feels like a step in the right direction, building off of everything that Hickman built in interesting new ways by expanding on everything that came before. That feeling of excitement at every twist and turn as you try to piece together the endgame that made books like HoXPoX and Inferno work so well is absolutely present here, and Immortal feels like the book that should have come out of HoXPoX from the start. Gillen is also clearly coming into this book with a set plan, which in a line which has started to feel aimless, is much needed.
Series artist Lucas Werneck is no stranger to the Krakoan age with several appearances all around the X-line for the past few years in Empyre: X-Men, Marauders, and this year’s Trial of Magneto and if those were auditions for the flagship, he more than proved himself. Werneck is an incredible character artist, a skill that makes him perfectly suited to this book with each subtle detail and facial expression adding so much. This is a comic that’s mostly a group of people in one room arguing, but thanks to Werneck there is never a dull panel. Werneck has been posting incredible X-Men redesign fan-art for a few years, and he brings that same skill to Immortal, even if the new costumes are a little more casual for now. Most notably his Selene redesign is absolutely stunning. Teamed with David Curiel, who you may be familiar with from his work on Inferno and many other Krakoan X-books, the two work together brilliantly.
Clayton Cowles has worked with Kieron Gillen many times at this point, and it’s clear the two work together perfectly, with Cowles bringing out the best in Gillens dialogue at every opportunity and delivering some incredible effect pieces. And don’t fear, just because Jonathan Hickman has left doesn’t mean the data pages are gone with Tom Muller’s incredible award winning work.
Kieron Gillen is no stranger to the X-Men, having written the 2013 Uncanny X-Men relaunch as well as several side books like SWORD and for fans of his previous X-books, you’ll find plenty of callbacks to enjoy here. That’s not to say Gillen is focused on the past though, to the surprise of no-one who is familiar with his other work he has clearly done his homework in weaving Immortal into the larger Krakoan tapestry at every opportunity. And while Gillen was clearly excited to return to Mister Sinister, a character whose modern interpretation he is largely responsible for and he hasn’t missed a beat in portraying as a hilarious yet reprehensible being, from the first issue alone it’s clear he has big plans for the more under-used members of the Quiet Council too, mainly Destiny and Exodus. Exodus has been around from the beginning of Krakoa but aside from his campfire tales, has been largely in the background and Gillens portrayal so far is certainly leaving me excited for more.
My only concern with this book is how new reader friendly it is. While Gillen is clearly working hard to try and catch any new or lapsed readers up on the events of Krakoa, and I do think he largely succeeds, the simple fact is A LOT has happened, and fitting a full recap of that into a single issue while also pushing the world forward is far from an easy task. Immortal is woven deep into the line and all the events that have happened in the last 4 years, which to those who have been reading it all will be perfect, but new readers may find themselves a bit thrown by off-hand mentions to certain events like Colossus being a literal puppet of Russia. Don’t worry though, as we’ll have a recap article for you in the next few days to help fill in those gaps!
Immortal X-Men #1 is a much needed breath of life into the X-Men line that sets it up for some exciting stories to come. While new readers may struggle to jump on with it, those who have been following ever since HoXPoX are sure to love it as it recaptures that same excitement and intrigue. Gillen, Werneck, and the whole team left me truly excited by the X-Men again and desperate for more.