It’s been a long time coming, but Brian Wood’s adjectiveless X-Men series is at least for now, an all-female team. Many X-women arguably deserve their own series, so at least they have a team book together. Despite this it doesn’t feel like an all-female book; it feels like an X-Men book that happens to have a mostly female cast. The first issue wasn’t quite perfect, but it was close. This issue is also very good.
John Sublime returned in the last issue to ask the X-Men for help. He is a bacterial organism who (usually a villain) who can possess pretty much anyone on Earth, but somehow mutants are mostly immune to him. Somehow his twin sister, Arkea, has returned to earth and vows revenge on pretty much the entire planet. The first issue ended with Arkea possessing Karima aka. Omega Sentinel.
A lot happens in this issue as the X-men react to Arkea’s meddling with the Jean Grey School’s security systems. Arkea is shown to be a very serious threat, able to act faster than the combined X-Men team can react. It’s hard to go into detail without spoiling pretty much everything in this issue. The characterization is very good though. It’s nice to see Kitty Pryde actually working her computer skills for once, only to show off her ninja skills two pages later. Jubilee feels like she’s matured since we’ve last seen her, and it feels natural. The last page also has a unique and kind of funny cliffhanger. Rather than something bad happening, the comic merely teases that something bad might happen when the next issue starts – brilliant.
The art is also very good. Both Psylocke and Jubilee look Asian, yet different. Rachel Grey’s hunter marks are more subtle than usual, and yet there still clearly visible. There’s a good use of backgrounds, whether it’s a bunch of computer displays or smoke in a heavily damaged room. The colouring is also good. When the entire building is in lockdown, everything is in red yet characters still have different shades of skin. If there is any complaint worth having it’s that there are a lot of panels where characters look tired, although that may be intentional.
Wood’s adjectiveless X-Men is shaping up very well. It’s a self-contained story with great characterization, an interesting villain and a surprising amount of humour. The last issue was the top selling comic of the month and this issue might just deserve the same.