Writer: Gerry Duggan
Art: Javier Pina, Zé Carlos, Erick Arciniega, VC’s Clayton Cowles, Marte Garcia, Pepe Larraz, and Tom Muller
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 24th, 2021
The recently ordained X-MEN have had their hands full safeguarding the planet. From stopping the High Evolutionary to the fighting of Nightmare, this team has been smacked around in so many different directions. However, while all these crazy threats have been bombarding the planet, there has been a much larger danger secretly building with Ben Urich. Let’s dive into X-MEN #5 by Gerry Duggan to see if we find out just what he really knows.
This week’s issue of X-MEN focuses heavily on Polaris and her addition to the team. Those familiar with the character know she’s a heavy hitter. However, I think Duggan wanted to take the time to showcase her abilities and give her the presence she truly can common. Nevertheless, as an X-MEN comic, it just didn’t do a great job this week balancing out the cast of characters. I, like many others, get excited for the X-MEN because it’s a team book. Yet this week, Duggan decides to sidestep the atmosphere of the title to give some extra background information on Polaris, her nomination to the team, as well as her acceptance within the dynamic of the X-MEN.
Sure, she’s been going through some stuff emotionally that Duggan pulls out of the story. Nevertheless, it really didn’t exist in the series until he put it in. So, Duggan took the time to add this extra wrinkle into the narrative solely to boost the confidence of a character that readers didn’t even know needed a confidence boost in the first place. It just seemed counterproductive and ultimately slowed down the flow of the overall story. Moreover, in what appeared to be a means of simultaneously sticking with the main story beats, Duggan quickly throws in a one-line conversational starter with Synch and Laura hinting at their past relational ties simply to check a box and show he hasn’t forgotten. Plus, Duggan ends the story quickly with what fans have truly been waiting for instead of focusing more on the resurrection elephant in the room which is what the solicits prepared readers for.
As usual, Javier Pina and Zé Carlos do an outstanding job with their clean, crisp art style while also promoting the perfect placement and layouts that make X-MEN #5 super easy to follow. Moreover, the page layout and framing from Pina and Carlos lends itself well to showcasing the emotions of the characters throughout their conversations with closeup jumps, as well as strategically placing time hops providing that extra detail required to truly understand each scene. Lastly, Erick Arciniega’s color scheme for Polaris did wonders helping readers discover her abilities with more intensity and vigor.
Ultimately, X-MEN #5 can be summarized in about two sentences making the cover price seem a bit too much for this issue. However, readers do get an excellent exposé on Polaris that gives fans searching for that a solid foundation of the character moving forward. If that’s what you’re looking for, pick this bad boy up! Nevertheless, if you were looking for a team book that progresses the story ahead, manages all the characters well, and does so all while unveiling some clever twists and turns, this week’s X-MEN just won’t do it for you. Right now, it almost seems like Duggan has the title a bit too scattered in multiple directions, which is what makes this issue hurt a bit more than it should. X-MEN #5 could have been an opportunity to put some of these moving pieces together. But instead, we learn about a character and her confidence issues that we didn’t know were there until this issue began. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!