Continuing the Sins of Sinister event, Kieron Gillen and Paco Medina’s Immoral X-Men #1 follow Mr. Sinister as he tries to escape a world that he shaped in his image. Everyone in power has a little Sinister in their genes, but what the original Sinister didn’t take into account is that it would make them all just as conniving and deceptive as he is. Sinister may be the world, but he doesn’t control it. In particular, the Quiet Council of Krakoa is not too happy with him after Sinister fails an attempt to assert control over them, and this sets the stage for the real star of the issue to hunt him down and put him in his place.
This issue belongs to Emma Frost, and it’s so goddamn horny. It’s super horny, crazy horny, even; and yet, it’s not horny in a way that feels too gross or male gaze-y. The Sinister-ified version of Emma is like an alternate take on the character in her Generation X and New X-Men transitional years: not the purely evil, ice queen dominatrix Claremont created, but not the champion of the children she’s been portrayed as in more recent years either. Instead, this Emma is an almost divine being of brutal vengeance and all of the psychosexual undertones that come with it. Leinil Francis Yu and Sunny Gao’s cover art of Emma choking a defeated Sinister with a chain is the perfect encapsulation of her character in this issue.
The actual scene isn’t just erotic because of the way Paco Medina draws it (though that’s a big element of it), but also because of the saucy internal monologue that writer Kieron Gillen gives her. “All those Omegas, puffing themselves up like insecure boys in the shower,” she muses at one point while flailing a chain in the air like a whip. “As if anything you can measure on a spreadsheet matters. I would rap their grubby little knuckles with their slide rules.” Gillen perfectly pulls off a balancing act between Emma’s confidence in herself and her use of soft-core analogies that makes her genuinely terrifying, but not terrifying enough to silence that part of your brain that has a smidge of envy for Sinister.
Speaking of Sinister, Gillen seems to be having almost as much fun torturing him as Emma is, and it’s a treat to read. Gillen basically created the modern version of Sinister in his Uncanny X-Men run, so it’s fun to see what he does when he brings that darkly humorous energy to a Sinister-centric event. One minute Sinister is bemoaning American tea and the French, and the next he’s dissolving one of his clones to death. Gillen just gives him the perfect ratio of goofball camp and genuine menace that makes him consistently unpredictable.
This issue also teases the return of fan-favorite character Rasputin IV, who hasn’t been seen since the beginning of the Krakoan Era when she disappeared through Xorn’s black hole head in the pages of Johnathan Hickman’s Powers of X. Sinister has finally figured out how to make a chimera with the abilities of five different mutants, and if that wasn’t enough of a hint of what’s to come, we’re outright shown a hologram of Rasputin IV. It remains to be seen if this version of the character will be anything like the one seen in Powers of X, as she’s being developed in this alternate Sinister-verse. Regardless, fans are excited to see this character return in some form or another after being absent for over three years.
Immoral X-Men #1 essentially is Gillen’s Mr. Sinister, in both its tone and execution. It’s sort of messed up in a way that’ll make you laugh. It knows how fabulous it looks, as Medina boldly presents a sexy torture scene that feels like it’s ripped straight out of a grindhouse movie. Above all, Immoral X-Men #1 is immensely sure of itself, but unlike a certain mad scientist, it actually lives up to its own hype. It’s a delightfully wicked comic.
Immoral X-Men #1 is available now at your local comic shop, and anywhere else comics are sold.