I’ve been generally down on the X books since the Hickman relaunch. Gone were the stories of individuals who, despite hatred by so many, stood up to be heroes. They were flawed. They dealt with adversity and hate. And, they often sacrificed themselves to triumph (only to come back later). The new direction for the X-Men was one of nationalism, where death was overcome, and in that, any tension. Where was the excitement when you could throw in your heavy hitters, watch them die, then just bring them back in a religious fervor. These weren’t heroes fighting for equality, these were incredibly powerful individuals who saw themselves as something more, often saying they looked down on humanity. In their cheating of death, they lost their souls and became corrupted. X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation #1 explores that corruption as Nightcrawler continues his search for a mutant “way”.
Written by Si Spurrier, X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation #1 is a continuation of Way of X. Nightcrawler is front and center as so many pieces of the puzzle laid out since the reboot come together. It takes what feels like it should have been an “event” and compacts it to a one-shot comic. That’s impressive in many ways but also creates a read that feels a bit rushed and whose reveals never quite deliver a punch.
Onslaught has corrupted Krakoa and its various processes, building its power and growing. Nightcrawler has gathered a team to stop it and while doing so, also come up with a vision for mutantkind. This isn’t one of supremacy, it’s one of improvement and defense. Nightcrawler has attempted to bring the X-books back to their roots, planting their foot in the side of equality and positivity.
X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation #1 in many ways feels like a repudiation of the X-books of late. It takes on the nationalism and religious fervor that has permeated the reboot. It squarely challenges the “death cult” attitude the series has taken. It admits that the X-Men have lost their “soul”. It’s an interesting build up and for those who felt something was “off” in the reboot, these last few months have played out that we were correct. There was something insidious at the root of it all. But, the shift has begun to return the X-Men to fight for everyone and do what’s right for all, not just their nation.
What’s really interesting about X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation #1 is how much it adds to Fabian Cortez who plays a key role. He’s a character who you could tell there was plans for since his return but always was the sad trombone. This issue puts him front and center in many ways and creates depth for the character that was missing. What was a spoiled rich brat has some pathos we can empathize with and understand his views and actions.
The art by Bob Quinn is interesting. There’s some truly amazing panels and pages are mixed with some just less so. Character designs which should inspire and be jaw-dropping feel like let downs. It’s an issue full of ups and downs visually and never quite hits the reader like it should. Java Tartaglia provides the color with lettering by Clayton Cowles and overall, the colors pop, the lettering adds an ominous feel, but the pencils and page layouts themselves never totally click. Scenes of what should feel like near carnality breaking out feels like a rave in Zion. The tension is built but never quite visually gets there. The designs within Legion’s mind are great but are never memorable.
X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation #1 is the end of one chapter setting up the next. There’s some interesting concepts within and a meta take on the X-books up to this point. It charts a new series to come hinting at a potentially fun team throwing up a lot of question. It most importantly feels like a “you were right” for all who felt something was off about the current X-Men and direction.
Story: Si Spurrier Art: Bob Quinn
Color: Java Tartaglia Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review