Writer: Gerry Duggan
Art: Javier Pina, Erick Arciniega, VC’s Clayton Cowles, Marte Garcia, Pepe Larraz, and Tom Muller
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: October 13th, 2021
When last we saw the X-MEN, they got slapped around by the High Evolutionary and his Guard. Somehow, Synch managed to save the human race by giving the High Evolutionary a drop of his blood to stop a virus from being unleashed on the planet which would only affect humanity. However, the High Evolutionary isn’t the only one on the edge ready to pounce on the planet and its powerless population. Let’s dive into X-MEN #4 by Gerry Duggan and Javier Pina to see which Nightmares await our X-MEN, the Earth, and humanity to come.
I’m a huge component of continuity in comics, especially as someone who thoroughly enjoys world-building AND reads so many various comics across different companies. So, when Nightmare immediately references DOCTOR STRANGE being “dead as a doornail”, I can’t help but smile with excitement feeling as though what I’m reading is truly important and worth my time and money. Moreover, Nightmare gives a unique look into the mind of both Cyclops and Jean Grey that readers wouldn’t normally see. Fans experience the inner workings of what drives these two heroes, their most feared missteps, and what they deem so important and close to their chest. Normally, readers could attempt to assume these aspects of the characters. However, Duggan uses Nightmare and his abilities to make it abundantly clear.
Nevertheless, the interesting mental development for this reviewer was with Laura. Duggan begins to use Laura’s gaps in memory from the Vault as a huge fear for her, which makes sense. Furthermore, Duggan even infers how she could easily get these memories back implying that Laura chooses not to recover them because she “doesn’t want to love him”. Now, my problem with this setup is that readers remember the Vault and what transpired, as well as Synch. Yet, how would Laura know she ever “loved” Synch? And if so, when and how was that information shared with her? Therefore, how could ‘love’ be her greatest fear?
On a more stimulating note, Duggan may not have given readers the most exciting or action-packed issue this week, however, he did use a mysteriously eerie premise to unlock some carrots for the future of his run. Grave robbers, Orchis, Dr. Statis, ruby quartz, and trips to Mars are only a few nuggets as to the direction of Duggan’s series moving forward which will help provide readers with just enough clues as to what is on the horizon for the series at large.
Javier Pina’s art and illustrations are incredibly trim and made the anecdote relatively straightforward from one page to another. This creative team had a sense of movement and beauty that guided this reviewer’s eyes across each page within a way that helped tell the story masterfully, especially the dream-state moments.
Overall, X-MEN #4 showed some of the inner fears that have been ravaging a few key members of the current X-MEN roster. Ultimately, it provided some unique insight into the cast, as well as their perspective and Duggan’s vision. Furthermore, readers truly see how powerful Marvel Girl is by watching her take down Nightmare single-handedly with ease. Heck, I don’t know if DOCTOR STRANGE could have done so that effortlessly.
Nevertheless, this was the first slow issue of Duggan’s run to date. Plus, it lacked the normal, high-paced, action that’s propelled these issues forward since he took over. With the focus being almost solely on Jean, incredibly small clues as to the future direction of the series, and little action to speak of, I found this week’s installment of X-MEN a little flat. Not bad by any stretch… just less compelling. Don’t get me wrong, X-MEN #4 wasn’t bad, yet my expectations surrounding the cover and preview were a bit more. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!