While I have been rather harsh recently on Marvel, a shining spot continues to be Immortal X-Men, and the latest edition is no exception. Picking off right where last month left us, we see a huge litany of mutants traveling through the desert, led by Exodus and Hope, while the issue also continues to spotlight Xavier’s struggles as the sole survivor left on Krakoa. Complimenting these storylines is some very compelling character work with Selene and Shaw, making this issue a well-rounded and fun romp.
Starting with the Selene narrative, writer Kieron Gillen goes fairly in-depth with her internal monologue, describing in detail just how much she truly loves to, well, kill! He really highlights the manic nature of the fan-favorite villain, while still making her quite scary. I think this speaks mostly to Gillen’s incredible character work on this series thus far, as each issue of Immortal X-Men prior to the fall focused solely on one member of the council. While that format naturally reached its conclusion, it is still nice to see room for in-depth character studies, something which made Immortal such an interesting book in the first place. On that very same topic, Charles continues to devolve into madness as he alone fights back against ORCHIS and Shaw’s hostile takeover of Krakoa. Still under the impression that all the mutants he sent through gates are dead, Gillen toys with the Xaiver we used to know, and fully breaks that good-hearted man of the past. Killing ORCHIS goons in cold blood and using his newly re-powered telekinetic abilities (something I admittedly forgot he had, but damn if he doesn’t look cool using them), it seems that Magento’s last words may be coming true, and Xavier himself has fallen.
Switching gears to the other story of this somewhat packed issue, Exodus and Hope’s romp through the desert is certainly the weaker and less interesting aspect. I think it suffers from a sense of confusion and lack of focus. First we seem to be observing how the mutants come together and solve problems, with a data page from Destiny’s diary showing the various ways they are working to survive. This was interesting on its own, and it would’ve been cool to perhaps see new mutant circuits arising in this time of need, which always struck me as a smart idea that I feel is continually underused. Rather than truly focus on how they are surviving, however, the issue takes a different turn and sees an army of animal-like clones of Wolverine running around and hunting the mutants. Why these Wolverines are here, and where they came from, is not at all answered, which I think really detracts from this issue because it provides a lot of unnecessary confusion. Mother Righteous then shows up and begins doing favors for the mutants, something which is obviously a bad sign, but again, we are not given even a hint of her true intentions, another frustrating story beat.
All in all, Immortal X-Men #15 is a very solid read, but it sacrifices explanation in favor of simply advancing the plot, something which I’m sure will pay off in the end, but makes reading through monthly a little difficult. I am incredibly excited to find out it will conclude, I just wish that the writing made some things a little bit more clear. Artist Paco Medina does a fantastic job ending off the issue with an intriguing, slightly ominous, and beautifully rendered splash page promising the appearance of a well-known villain to shake up the events of the next issue, which cannot come soon enough.