Writer: Gerry Duggan
Art: Jim Towe, Javier Pina, Marte Garcia, VC’s Clayton Cowles, Lucas Werneck, Tom Muller, and Jay Bowen
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: September 6th, 2023
The moment we swore would never happen—heck, the moment Emma Frost swore would never happen—is here at last as X-Men #26 by Gerry Duggan begins this week! As the Frost/Stark knot is tied in Invincible Iron Man #10, Emma’s mutant family reacts to this surprise news!
Wilson Fisk and Emma Frost’s relationship has been reborn since the events that happened at the Hellfire Gala. As far as plot threads go, this one was the most intriguing and should provide a nice flare to the long-time X-Men fan. Additionally, it shows the depth to which Duggan has prepared this vengeance as well as his deep knowledge of the character. Moreover, readers are also prevued to the new Hellfire Club with some surprising new leaders. And fans, I absolutely love the impact Tony Stark is having in this Fall of X. Now, is it because Duggan is writing Invincible Iron Man and finds it easier to couple his stories? Maybe. But it works well.
The angle I disliked though was the Firestar element. What was the point of making her an undercover operative if it amounts to nothing? What’s the point if we don’t see her in action? And after X-Men #26, her ability to come across as an Orchis spy just dwindled drastically. You’re telling me that Kitty breaks into Orchis to kill Firestar but doesn’t succeed? And, all Firestar gets is a scratch? I just didn’t see the point of this development nor the purpose of blowing this secret to the mutants. It gains nothing and takes everything away from the story as well as its future shock value.
X-Men #26 simply proves how long this Fall of X is going to be. The amount of setup in order to take down Orchis is going to take some time. And as much as I like a strong narrative basis, I can’t help but wish we were done with this Krakoan Era. Additionally, the Kitty element is just a bit over the top. For those who’ve followed along since the beginning during the Captain Pryde Era, she’s dealt with arguably even more intensity from Sebastian Shaw. And yet, she didn’t turn into some hellbent assassin then. However, now she’s a woman on fire. It’s just hard to buy. Frankly, I feel like it ruined the Firestar angle and took a massive element away from more X-Men characters that could have been involved in the setup. For example which was pointed out in X-Men #26, where’s Scott? I’d much rather have gotten closer to that than Kitty and Firestar amounting to nothing.
Nevertheless, the saving grace of the issue was undoubtedly the Emma Frost angle along with Tony Stark and the Kingpin’s development in this revenge plan. That’s where the truly fascinating story beats apply. Overall, X-Men #26 will most certainly keep your attention enough this month to entice fans to continue. However, readers get tons of setup and very little action. Hopefully, Duggan can find a way to even that aspect of the story out a bit more as this Fall of X continues to unfold. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!