Death of X #4
Writers: Charles Soule & Jeff Lemire
Pencilers: Aaron Kurder & Javier Garron
Colorists: Mary Holloway & Jay David Ramos
Inkers: Jay Leisten & Javier Garron
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Release Date: November 23, 2016
Plot: The confrontation between the X-Men and the Inhumans comes to a conclusion and sets up the big Inhumans vs. X-Men event.
Story: The story in Death of X #4 is extremely heavy and really packs a punch to finish things off. Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire conclude the book in an extremely strong fashion that handles the representation of both parties well. There is a heavy focus on Cyclops, leading all the way up to his ultimate fate, and this book just bleeds with emotion by explaining his side of the story. Throughout the years Cyclops has been turned into an extremely complex character, and in Death of X, Lemire and Soule manage to articulate his stance in a very brilliant way.
Cyclops has such a sense of pride about being a mutant and he never takes anyone’s crap about it. In a way, he’s been a huge inspiration to younger mutants because Cyclops is always able to explain that being a mutant is something to be prideful about and appreciate. The mutants have taken so much since their inception, only because they are different, and Cyclops sees everything the Inhumans are doing as a threat. Both he and Medusa are telling two different stories, and neither is wrong, but this confrontation is built completely on miscommunication. It’s sad because in a sense Cyclops and Medusa are more similar than they think, but both feel the need to beat one another out to be accepted in the world.
Yet, the downfall of both leaders is viewing these events as a war. Cyclops loves the entire mutant population but in times like this begins to utilize them as soldiers instead of people. It’s sad because the character is so aggressive in a threatening situation that he begins to push people away when things go to far. The sense of duty is a great character trait for everyone to have a little of, but when leading figures push too hard, the following disappears.
Despite his flaws, Cyclops knows when it is his turn to step up as an individual and follow through on his beliefs and the events he had a hand in causing. The character knows who he is, and there is no doubting that ever, which Soule and Lemire seem to understand. They paint a picture across Death of X #4 that displays a beautiful progression of a character, explaining him fully and accurately. The issue is full of many key moments that are thorough and deep with emotion, because in the end Cyclops turns out to not be so bad of a guy. Yes, he can be too aggressive sometimes, but Cyclops holds nothing higher than pride in being a mutant.
Art: The art in Death of X compliments the story as well with beautiful scenes for such a large moment in the Marvel comics universe. The issue immediately opens up with a breathtaking scene the reveals the enormity of the conflict between the Inhumans and the X-Men. The X-Men are represented as the dying breed, the ones being pushed out, and this picture of them on the cliff with the Terrigen Cloud looming says so much. The group looks cornered, clearly the smaller figures compared to this growing giant mist; Kurder and Garron’s choice to use the mist as a representation of the Inhumans as a whole is genius, because there is an immediate visual of the dominant race in this story.
The rest of the art team fills in the scenes really well, there are so many well-colored panels that just enhance the story. Holloway, Garron, Ramos, and Leisten all make great decisions that help build up the intensity of the scenes. The X-Men alter the Terrigen cloud to be a non-lethal version for mutants, which turns it red. It matches Cyclops suit and despite being safer, paints the battlefield in blood for a final confrontation. The texture from the inking on the rain makes the scene clear while also adding a slightly haunting feel to it. The art team absolutely nails the work on Death of X to the point where it has just as large of an impact as the writing, creating such a rich and full story that does this reveal complete justice.
Verdict: Death of X as a whole is a really amazing story across four issues. Soule and Lemire cover so much ground in issue 4 and give a very in depth look at Cyclops and his interpretation of the X-Men’s conflict with the Inhumans. The book is filled with emotion and the artwork compliments everything super well with tons of strong panels that clearly display the weight of everything going on.