X-Men: Red #12 Review- Defend This Broken Land

Genesis is coming, and she’s bringing war with her…

Al Ewing’s technique of pulling from stories that seemingly did not have much of an impact and digging out really good story beats is something to be in awe of – every single time. While X of Swords was a fun event, there wasn’t much payoff for the book being a line-wide crossover. So far in X-Men: Red, it’s been really cool to see Ewing play with the pieces set up through Arakko, but with this issue he takes it to the next step: showing us what’s been going on with Genesis – Apocalypse’s wife – in Amenth. 

This is an issue that’s focused less on the present and more on the past – catching us up to speed with what’s going on and why Jon Ironfire, one of the heroes in Ewing’s Storm and the Brotherhood of Mutants, is finally here. The way he makes us care about these characters we barely know anything about, while also raising the stakes for what’s to come is always awe-inspiring, and it’s fantastic to see that here.

It’s the way he utilizes the tone – making the war between the White Sword and Genesis feel like something right out of a fantasy novel that makes all of this so effective. Yeah, he’s introducing all these weapons and concepts we don’t know much about, but that’s also fine, because those aren’t the point. The point is that things are bad and getting worse, and the tone and art completely elevates that and manages to give off ideas of what those are without devolving into a segment of needless exposition.

The White Sword on his throne in X-Men: Red.

Art-wise, Camangi and Blee do a good job. The action, expressions, and motion are on point, and Blee makes sure that all these characters have the right skin tone – a problem that’s been happening across a lot of books as of late. My big gripe however, is still Roberto. Skin tone-wise he’s fine, but if they’re not going to give him the locs like Leinel Yu did, they could at least give him the curly hair that Rod Reis and Stefano Caselli did, instead of the straight hair in this issue. The lack of black features is also really apparent, which is unfortunate. I’m hoping that Marvel editorial ends up setting a standard, but given how it’s been going with his appearances, it’s hard to say.

Gripes aside, the ending was phenomenal. Ewing takes the set up from another book and combines it with his own work to tease something big, and I cannot wait to see what that is. I’m extremely looking forward to Before the Fall: Heralds of Apocalypse by him and Luca Pizzari next month to go deeper into what’s going on with Apocalypse and his family.

By Zero

Big fan of storytelling through the B-Theory of time.

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