REVIEW: X-Men: Blue #6 – “The Festival”

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X-MEN: BLUE #6
Writers: Cullen Bunn
Pencillers: Ray-Anthony Height & Ramón Bachs
Inkers: Marc Deering & Terry Pallot
Colorist: Irma Kniivila

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 6/28/17

Jean Grey and her team of X-Men recently found Jimmy Hudson, Wolverine’s son from another universe, thanks to a signal from Cerebro. It turns out he couldn’t remember anything about his past because Ms. Sinister and the new Mauraders had brainwashed the mutants from Jimmy’s world and turned them into killing machines. What will the team do after helping him escape?

Plot: Looks like the answer is take the night off! X-Men Blue #6 opens with a bored and restless Marvel Girl, who is hoping to get out and go to a festival instead of being cooped up inside of their base. Her first choice is none other than Scott Summers, but Cyclops is too busy training with Magneto. Instead she finds companionship with Jimmy and Henry and together they enjoy a night free from drama… Until it finds them, of course.

Story: Cullen Bunn knows how to milk every situation for character development and insight, even an event as seemingly insignificant as a town festival. Henry’s innocently excited reaction directly contrasts with Jimmy’s paranoia, which showcases the turmoil the latter is still going through after being essentially tortured. Meanwhile, McCoy’s optimism leans towards the idea that every moment can change the world – which speaks to his future as a scientist – while Jean takes a more measured approach of finding joy in stepping away from life changing moments. After all, she’s fighting to keep herself from changing into the Dark Phoenix and could use a break.

The issue can’t be all fun and games, though, and Bunn quickly gets down to business by having Jimmy senses the presence of and then overhears a conversation about the sale of Mutant Growth Hormone. It’s an especially interesting way to introduce the conflict, because Jimmy just admitted to being a little over-stimulated at the moment, so it leaves readers wondering for a few pages whether it’s a false alarm or a moment of serious concern.

 

If I have any complaint, it’s how quickly the action escalated. It might have been fun to build the tension a little more, hinting that something wasn’t quite right while Jean and the boys had a few more revealing interactions. However, the fight against the Raskha and the subsequent conversation were so well done that it’s hard to begrudge cutting right to the chase after a short introduction. Norio and his companions were such an interesting group that I hope future issues will delve more into their backstory and motivations, because I for one was left wanting much more than was provided this time.

Art: There were several hands involved in the art of X-Men: Blue #6, but the panels seem to switch seamlessly from one artist to the next. The pencils and ink provide very detailed and action-oriented backgrounds, though they sometimes skimp on facial expressions. It’s not my personal favorite style, but it suits the chaotic energy of the festival in this issue particularly.

Irma Kniivila ties the issue together with her coloring. She brings a warm and vibrant aura to the first half of the issue,  then manages to convert nearly the same colors into a cooler and more kinetic look for the fight sequences. There’s a lot going on throughout the book, and all of the artists make the most of it, which helps X-Men feel more action-packed even in the quieter moments.

Verdict: X-Men: Blue #6 has a lot of fun moments, even if the pacing felt a little off at times. Readers invested in how these younger X-Men will push forward and avoid their past/future mistakes will want to pick it up and start a new story thread. On a final note: it felt a little like X-Men: Blue is building towards a Scott, Jean and Jimmy love triangle as a way to recreate the old one with Wolverine. I hope the X-Men team resists this urge.

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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