Writer: Gerry Duggan
Art: Stefano Caselli, Federico Blee, VC’s Clayton Cowles, Juan Frigeri, David Curiel, Jay Bowen, and Tom Muller
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 12th, 2023
Why have the Brood gone mad? Which of the X-Men’s past deeds is coming back to haunt them? And are bloodthirsty alien monsters even the biggest threat the team is currently facing? All these answers and more will be revealed in this week’s X-Men #21 by Gerry Duggan!
Jean makes Nightmare her $&@$ while Forge and Monet make a technological effort to push Knowhere out of the Black Hole it was sucked into as X-Men #21 continues. Now readers, this story just felt anticlimactic. I understand that the Captain Marvel book is containing even more from the fight against the Brood. But, the action was almost depleted, and vigor from the last issue was turned mostly into a heated discussion.
Sure, there were some aspects of X-Men #21 worth talking about. The “Trojan Horse Effect” by the Brood was a nice touch. It created some emotional moments with Synch as he wanted so desperately to save as many people as he could… but simply couldn’t. It provided an extremely touching moment to the story showcasing the compassion the mutants have for life itself, which was pretty ironic considering how frivolous they’ve been with their own lives during the resurrection process.
Moreover, I appreciated the creative Scarlet Witch clone plan, however, this would work with… practically everything in comics and not just with the Brood. What’s to stop the X-Men from doing this trick for anything and everything they ever need? I actually feel like Duggan blew the perfect “Get out of Jail Free” Card whenever an event or series felt stuck in the corner. This card could have been used at any moment or anytime out of the blue to make total sense of a story that was completely off the rails. Now, it won’t be much of a surprise if and when it’s ever used.
Lastly, Cyclops was overly emotional about the Brood. But for a group of people all about saving the lives of everyone, why does Cyclops, as well as some of the other X-Men, seem so passionate about exterminating the Brood? It can’t be just because of Corsair. Everyone else seems on board with the idea except for Broo and Jean for the most part. But how can they be all about persevering and protecting life, especially after figuring out exactly what Nightmare did, only to turn around and desire to exterminate the entire race? It just seems overly hypocritical. Now, was that Duggan’s plan? I don’t know. But, that premise just didn’t jive well with this reviewer.
X-Men #21 lacks the explosive action and suspense its preceding issues had this week. Readers will find more discussion, some clever ideas, and some counterintuitive characteristics from the X-Men that simply just didn’t square the circle well. Overall, the story wasn’t bad it just culminated into…. nothing. The Forge angle was the most exciting aspect, however, that story beat amounted to nothing significant as X-Men #21 wrapped except a safe haven for Brood. That plot thread felt so much more pertinent to the story than that. Moreover, Cyclops’ emotion and anger seemed almost off base considering he’s been through far worse, including his own kind being assaulted by humankind, yet he hasn’t wanted to exterminate the human race…
Corsair can’t be the only reason that pushes him over the edge. Plus, why exterminate them now? He wanted to kill them all before he knew about their lost connection. My point is some of the characteristics and story beats in X-Men #21 just didn’t jive well with the story leading up to the issue as well as the constants involved with the characters to this point. Overall, X-Men #21 was an average story that appeared to have potential leading up to this issue that just felt a bit flat while trying to stick the landing. If you’ve been following along with this story, I’d pick it up to see it through. However, I wouldn’t use this issue as a starting point. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless.