Writer: Gerry Duggan
Art: Javier Pina, Pepe Larraz, Marte Garcia, VC’s Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: February 16th, 2022
Ben Urich uncovered the mutant’s dirty little secret about resurrection. However, before he could tell the world, he somehow managed to have his memory wiped clean. Cyclops has been attempting to unearth who’s behind Urich’s mysterious memory loss but has come up short to this point. Alas, while trying to reveal this mystery, Cyclops has had to take the reigns of this X-MEN team under the disguise of Captain Krakoa. Let’s dive into X-MEN #8 by Gerry Duggan and Javier Pina to see if any more information can be divulged along with M.O.D.O.K.’s connection to all of this turmoil.
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Let me open by saying it was fantastic to see Laura in charge and commanding the troops. It was such a great role for her with this team. And readers, that’s how the book opens. Plus, we finally get a semi-talk between Synch and Laura with an image at its pique that sets the stage beautifully from this creative team. The biggest drawback of the issue is that the return of even the possibility of the Synch-Laura relationship is pushed aside rather quickly.
Speaking as someone who’s been in love now for over 20 years with my wife and best friend, and seeing what we’ve built together, I can’t imagine her forgetting about it all and me just moving on from it without much pain… let alone giving up. My point is, Duggan now establishes the length of time Laura and Synch were together and it makes my 20 years look like a blip. I feel like Everett should be in more pain than he is. Moreover, I feel like Everett should be pushing to somehow restore those memories. But, he’s not. It just doesn’t seem realistic. And frankly, I think if I’m speaking for X-MEN fans in general, I think we all want that too. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t want Laura and Synch together. So, why aren’t they yet? Why are we dragging this along? Duggan touches on Everett’s feelings a tiny bit towards the end of X-MEN #8 but not very much for what we are led to believe happened in the Vault.
Furthermore, readers will also uncover who is responsible for Ben Urich’s recent memory loss of Cyclops’ death. Plus, the new team name of IMMORTAL X-MEN appears to get its machinations from this very moment in the series, which is rather clever by Duggan. But if I’m being honest, it wasn’t just the Laura-Synch angle that enticed this reviewer. Duggan also did a much better job encompassing more of the X-MEN cast of characters in this issue. Granted it wasn’t perfect by any stretch. However, more teammates were visible and more teammates had a voice in this issue of X-MEN #8 than ever before.
Additionally, it was also great to see present M.O.D.O.K. again in comics. Not the futuristic one in MAESTRO or the series with Patton Oswalt. Yet, this version by Duggan seemed a bit off-kilt. Sure, his motives were sinister but he just didn’t seem as demented and devious as I remembered. Plus, he came across as a pushover. The MAESTRO version by Peter David (yet much older) seemed a bit more true to form. Truthfully, M.O.D.O.K.’s mindscape seemed the truest to form but still didn’t hit the mark.
My goodness, that cover by Pepe Larraz of the zoom-in on M.O.D.O.K.’s face is fiendishly clever and absolutely phenomenal. That cover alone would draw anyone to the comic and gets the job done for sure. As for within the pages of X-MEN #8 itself, Javier Pina knows how to draw action and moment so well. The panel layouts alongside Clayton Cowles’ lettering at the most opportune times amplified each punch, kick, slash, and blast throughout the narrative. Furthermore, anyone who’s been following my reviews throughout the years knows how much I love realism, especially with facial features.
The detail within a character’s face tells the story and enhances the issue with emotion that ties the reader to the comic. Pina does that with M.O.D.O.K.’s anger as well as Everett’s sadness in his eyes as he realizes what he’s actually lost. Readers, it’s said that “the devil is in the details”. However, if you truly take the time to research, the phrase was originally a German idiom back in 1934 that said, “Gott steckt im Detail” meaning that “God is in the details”. By looking at Pina’s work, I’d tend to agree with the original interpretation and not the twisted version found later.
Duggan manages to do a much better job juggling the X-MEN cast while shedding some light on the Laura-Synch relationship after the Vault. As anticlimactic as the reveal was, X-MEN #8 still provides insight into the relationship between the two but ultimately promises very little further investigation. Moreover, Duggan reveals who was behind Urich’s sudden memory loss and leaves the series open to going in almost any direction at this point. The M.O.D.O.K. angle was a great touch but felt more or less like “the villain of the week” from Saturday Morning cartoons of yesteryear.
Readers, X-MEN #8 just proves how long it actually takes for a creative team to really get their feet wet in order to tell their story. After 8 issues, Duggan is finally starting to hit his stride and equipping the narrative with a better balance that this reviewer is becoming accustomed to. However, there are just a few aspects and character beats that just didn’t jive with the reviewer this week. That said, X-MEN is still in a pretty good place. And given more time, I think Duggan will truly cultivate this series into something substantial. The problem is whether or not fans will hang in there for something to blossom. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!
One thought on “X-Men #8 Review”
You will probably get your wish, I am sure their first date will be the next hellfire gala. At that point Duggan’s path of character destruction with Laura may hopefully be complete.