Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Color Artists: Federico Blee & Protobunker’s Fernando Sifuentes
Cover Artists: Russell Dauterman & Matthew Wilson
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Mutants of Krakoa terraformed the planet Mars and colonized it with the Mutants of Arakko. Now, the Krakoan mutants have to work with their more primal brethren, and Storm’s solution is forming a new Brotherhood of Mutants for Mars. However, Commander Abigail Brand of S.W.O.R.D. has other ideas and in X-Men Red #3, we see her execute her first plan to get the martian mutants under control.
If there was one word to describe this comic, it would be underwhelming. This isn’t a terrible comic, but it is far from being a great comic. Let’s start with the good.
So, we get some good emotional development for Magneto as he plays a significant role in this comic. The writing, dialogue, and artwork all go to make Magneto the real star in this comic while everyone else is drawn fine and the comic has some solid close-up shots. Speaking of the art, Stefano Caselli continues to bring it with the art when it comes to character postures, facial expressions, action, everything. The art conveys the personality and emotions of the characters pretty well and knows how to work with a variety of emotions and situations as shown throughout this comic.
Now, onto the bad. So, it’s established pretty clearly that Abigail Brand is the main villain of this title. Coming off of the events of Al Ewing’s S.W.O.R.D. series, Brand makes for a good manipulative villainess orchestrating events behind people’s backs for a grand agenda hidden from all, even her allies in ORCHIS. However, here, she comes off a little bit like a mustache-twirling supervillain than the clandestine mastermind she was in S.W.O.R.D. This is best shown in her interaction with Storm where she acts more like a mean-girl boss who enjoys messing with Storm, instead of the shady, disciplined, pragmatic commander as she was written in Al Ewing’s S.W.O.R.D. series.
What’s worse is that the comic seems to be trying to build up Vulcan as this huge ticking time bomb waiting to go off but undermines that at the same time. This is show when the comic goes out of its way to build up how Vulcan is hyper-volatile and growing more unstable by the day. However, the comic also manages to undercut that and make him look like a bit of a chump, taking away any bite the character could’ve had three issues in a row. Since it’s Al Ewing writing this series, it’s safe to say that he has a big plan for Vulcan, but like Brand, he’s not executing it that well when it comes to the villains.
Speaking of which, Tarn is a brand new mutant of Arakko who was introduced in Zeb Wells’ Hellions series, where he was very much a powerful, creepy, and dreaded force to be reckoned with. But ever since Al Ewing got his hands on him, Tarn has been a far cry of his menacing self. Since Tarn is the main bad guy in this issue, he gets his share of the spotlight when the action starts. His time in the comic isn’t impressive but it is slightly entertaining as Tarn serves a functional role in this comic. Sadly, Al Ewing ends up taking this new villain and diminishing him to prop up Storm and Magneto. Two extremely popular characters who hardly need anyone to prop them up these days.
Not to mention, the way that Tarn is beaten in the comic is smart, but it’s also pretty underwhelming, at least in my opinion. The moment when he’s taken down is drawn well by Stefano Caselli and the dark colors provided by Federico Blee and Fernando Sifuentes help make it a grim and serious sequence. However, it’s one of those moves that makes you feel like, “Why don’t they do that more often?” afterward. The only thing to come out of this is the hint that Isca the Unbeaten has a past with Tarn and they may or may not have been more than fellow warriors. But we’ll see if that really goes anywhere after what Isca does in this comic book and what happens to Tarn.
X-Men Red #3 brings a more action-oriented chapter in the series as Tarn the Uncaring steps into the ring. While the Arakkii mutant villain gets his time in the spotlight, he isn’t that impressive but provides a serviceable role in the story. However, the character who steals the show in this comic book is without a doubt Magneto when it comes to the story, dialogue, and art.