Writer: Gerry Duggan
Art: C.F. Villa, Matt Milla, Martin Coccolo, Jesus Aburtov, VC’s Clayton Cowles, Jay Bowen, and Tom Muller
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 31st, 2022
The recently elected X-Men team has been flung straight into the fire as they hold the foremost conduit of defense against the Eternals who desire for mutant genocide. There attempt: to rectify disproportionate variations heeding the birth of mutant resurrection. Nevertheless, a coalition of Eternals has formed along with the Avengers and contorted the Avengers’ headquarters, which was once a dead Celestial, into a pristine god called the Progenitor! Let’s dive into X-Men #14 by Gerry Duggan as the recently revived Progenitor declares his judgment across the Earth for all beings.
X-Men #14 takes an A.X.E.: Judgment Day tie-in issue, mixes in a bit of the ongoings with Gameworld, and surrounds the story with a current cultural hot topic to state a point to the readers. Now, regardless of whether or not X-Men fans are for or against the cultural theme bookending the issue, my job is to review the comic while doing my best to steer away from pushing or promoting any opinions on both sides. What I can say is that I certainly got the thematic symbolism Duggan was laying down by tying in the concept and aligning it with A.X.E.: Judgment Day in a crafty way.
Now, after the first page, I was definitely wondering where we were going with X-Men #14. The premised seemed like a weird way to begin an X-Men comic and wasn’t revisited until the brutal end. Granted, that technique was probably done to add a layer of curiosity and intrigue into an otherwise straightforward tale involving Iceman, Gameworld, and the A.X.E.: Judgment Day event. Nevertheless, the action and story became incredibly Iceman centric showcasing just what this Omega Level mutant is capable of. My only speculation is just exactly how Iceman stopped the problem with the solar flare. It seems a bit too “comic book science” for my blood.
Plus, I found myself wondering where the recent Iceman-heavy X-Men story beats are coming from. Granted, he’s been in comics to date (mainly Marauders) but not like this, which won’t help with the haters in this issue. That said, I understand the premise and point of the issue. But, I just wonder why the article in the comic required his sexual orientation as an angle at all.
What did his orientation have to do with him saving the world? Sure, I get the point of the story and I understand the premise but I feel like Duggan could have got the same point across by either involving more elements into the narrative surrounding Iceman’s sexual orientation to make it fit within the story better or creating a better scenario as to why it is needed at all into X-Men #14 in the first place. Does it take away from the story? Nope. Do I understand that Iceman has probably been judged by many about his sexual orientation? Yes. But was he judged in X-Men #14 (or recently for that matter) because of his sexuality? Not to my knowledge.
Iceman, like all mutants, is being judged because he’s a mutant by humanity as well as the Eternals. That should be the key element in the newspaper article that was being refused and the focus of the issue especially with it being an A.X.E.: Judgment Day tie-in. The editor should be saying “lose the mutant angle”, especially a mutant the world despises who just saved the planet. Sure, I get the parallels but if I’m being honest, which is the point of a review, it truly felt forced. Duggan could have broached the topic in a way that focused more on his sexual orientation instead of a cold open and subtle interview that hit the point alone without the bookends.
X-Men #14 takes an A.X.E.: Judgment Day tie-in about the judgment of mutants and redirects that focus toward Iceman and his sexuality. Yet regardless of your personal stance on the topic at hand, you have to admit that Duggan does some literary magic showcasing the parallels between the two judgments. Nevertheless, I find myself scratching my head wondering why.
This X-Men team book basically became an Iceman issue with some comic book science gymnastics in order to save the day. However, the takeaway from fans will be the three pages that focused on his sexuality with fans on the fence about whether or nor it should have been in the issue. So with the current climate being so far on either end of the spectrum, it may be in your best interest to pass on X-Men #14 considering it has very little to do with A.X.E.: Judgment Day or the entire X-Men team. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!