Shadowkat rises in X-Men #25
After the mutant massacre at the Hellfire Gala, what becomes of the X-Men? X-Men #25 by Gerry Duggan and Stefano Caselli sets out to answer that question and establish the new status quo for the X-Men line. The issue serves as a launch pad for the Fall Of X, showing us the dire straits the X-Men and their allies find themselves in. It’s not an easy task to set this all up but X-Men #25 succeeds at what it sets out to do and then some.
The focus of the issue is Kate Pryde and her journey to becoming Shadowkat. The change is more than just a new codename and costume, it comes with a much darker shade of Kate Pryde than we’ve seen in this entire era. She’s more tense and distant, a far cry from the heart of the X-Men that was once Kitty Pryde. Luckily the change is a well-motivated one. In the most stunning scene of the issue, we perfectly see what causes such a drastic personality change. Special mention has to go to Peach Momoko’s fabulous design for Shadowkat, it calls back to earlier iterations of Kitty’s costume while giving her a fresh new look.
Outside of Shadowkat, the issue has excellent world-building. Duggan deftly shows the reader how bad it’s gotten for the Mutants. It all feels wonderfully believable. There is a scene towards the end of the issue which calls back to a contentious moment from earlier in the run, while I initially had issues with that aforementioned moment it’s absolutely paid off here in this issue when it comes back around in a dramatic fashion.
Caselli’s art has never looked better than under the coloring of Marte Gracia. While I loved his art on X-Men Red and the dragon ball sensibility he brought to that book, I was never quite a fan of how his art looked here in the flagship title. However, this issue has won me back over. The other artist for X-Men Joshua Cassara is a hard act to follow up but here Caselli surpasses my wildest expectations.
X-Men #25 had a difficult task ahead of it, being the first issue for the Fall Of X and thus a burden of setting much of the stage for the new era. However, Duggan and Caselli craft an issue worthy of the flagship title, steering the ship into dangerous new waters. If you have any interest in the X-Men’s next chapter then this is one to pick up
Story: Gerry Duggan Art: Stefano Caselli
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller, Jay Bowen
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review