X-Men: Red #2 Review

by Charles Martin on March 07, 2018

X-Men: Red #2 Review
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Mahmud Asrar
Colourist: Ive Svorcina
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

X-Men: Red #2 kicks off with a letter-perfect introduction to Trinary that instantly makes her a compelling character and also does a great job of unpacking the global fallout from the first issue's shocking conclusion.

From there, we get a pretty fast issue centred around the new team rescuing Trinary. Yes, on the one hand, the world's most-wanted mutants busting an accused terrorist out of close custody is pretty challenging. On the other hand, when your team includes an omega psychic handling mission control, a teleporter, and a pair of Wolverines, Mission Impossible-ing your way into India's Mutant Defense Force is a piece of cake. Getting out, on the other hand ...

The action scenes are handled flawlessly. I'm a little less impressed with the Red team's temporary exile in Wakanda. Mahmud Asrar does an excellent job of making the place look gorgeous. His art is sketchy but it's also supremely confident; you can tell he's dropping his lines exactly where he wants them and most of the time the results are impressively evocative.

Tom Taylor handles the "let's get to know Gentle" scene in a way that leaves me cold, though. My recipe for an anti-impressive character introduction: Have him sit mute and motionless while somebody else explains to an audience surrogate how awesome he is. Bonus points for describing his powerset in a trite and reductive way: "Mutant Hulk, but restricted by potentially-fatal pain."

Trinary gets some additional focus as the story rolls along, and so far her motivations are Taylor-made (Har!) to send a certain brand of superfan into frothy-mouthed paroxysms. Specifically, she'll infuriate the "Marvel is trying to cater to Tumblr users and it's ruining mah comics" crowd faster than you can say "gender wage gap." 

I'm excited to see how Trinary merges into this team going forward. Gentle's been under-utilized so far, but he's still got all the potential in the world. The Kinneys, Jean, and Kurt all work beautifully together, and Mr. Taylor handles their interactions in an adroit way that smoothly blends character and plot development. (Plus a healthy dose of humour as long as Gabby's on the team.) These are awesome characters and their chemistry makes following them a blast no matter what they're doing.

According to the notes and sketches at the end of the book, the New Team Uniforms are going to be super plot-important when they finally show up. I'm in no hurry to get there; Mahmud Asrar does a great job of costuming the team in civilian clothes to suit their current "on the lam" status. Trading that realistic garb for "linebacker pads for everyone!" armour just doesn't thrill me. 

The sketches and the preview of next month's cover do suggest we can expect some Cajun flavour in the near future, though, and that sounds terrific.

After training in the Danger Room of All-New Wolverine for a few years, Tom Taylor has built up some formidable mutant storytelling muscles. It's a pleasure to see them hard at work as X-Men: Red storms out of the gate with a breathless pace and plenty of fascinating plot developments. Mahmud Asrar's sketchy but evocative art is a perfect complement to this fast story. While there are a few little missteps, this title is covering tons of distance and it still looks like a definite winner.

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Charles Martin's picture
If Jean Grey hadn't answered Trinary's cry for help, her next call was definitely going to be to Mark Waid's Champions.