Welcome, dear readers, to X-Men: Bland Design, the weekly multi-part recap column that strives to answer the question: “What if Ed Piskor had no art skills, a juvenile sense of humor, and less classic material to work with?”
It’s been a rough decade or so for X-Men fans. As part of Ike Perlmutter‘s feud with Fox over the Fantastic Four movie rights, Marvel’s greatest franchise has suffered many an indignity. Cyclops turned into a villain by writers and editors with a Wolverine fetish. The worst crossover of all time, Avengers vs. X-Men. A serious attempt to replace mutants with the Inhumans, thankfully killed by the god-awful Inhumans TV show. Greg Land. But that’s all over now (except for Land). With a Marvel/Fox deal on the horizon, the Fantastic Four can return, but more importantly, Marvel can give a crap about the X-Men again!
Each week, we aim to recap what happened in all of the X-books, make a few jokes, and struggle to survive the experience as we reckon our love for our favorite characters with what can often feel like a “quantity-over-quality” approach to comic booking.
Last week, we didn’t have time to recap the X-books due to all the C2E2 news we had to cover, which means we’ve got to catch up. To do that, we’ve got to read and recap 13 — yes, 13 — X-books in one weekend. Is that even possible? We’re about to find out!
X-MEN RED #3
TOM TAYLOR (W) • MAHMUD ASRAR (A)
Cover by Travis Charest
HEADSHOT VARIANT COVER BY TRAVIS CHAREST
YOUNG GUNS VARIANT COVER JAVIER GARRON
VENOM 30TH VARIANT COVER BY TBA
WELCOME TO THE X-MEN, TRINARY, HOPE YOU SURVIVE THE EXPERIENCE!
The Hate Machine Part 3
The battle rages in India, and the newest X-Men member may be the key to the team’s survival.
GAMBIT is caught up the intensifying global frenzy of mutant hate.
Plus: Could one of JEAN GREY’s oldest friends turn foe?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
Cassandra Nova, evil psychic twin of Professor Xavier, is invading the X-Mansion in Central Park in the middle of the night. She’s invisible to most of the residents, but one young mutant is able to see her and recognizes her, so she kills him. She’s carrying a smoking vile of something nasty, and she chooses an unseen, sleeping mutant as the first victim of whatever it is. “Go and defend Wakanda,” she says. Okay.
In India, Jean Grey’s team of X-Men, consisting of All-New Wolverine, Honey Badger (what team needs two Wolverines?! Besides X-Men Blue?!), Nightcrawler, and new addition Trinary. As Laura thrashes the sentinel, Gabby tries to get Trinary to safety, but the Sentinel blasts her. Thankfully, she doesn’t feel pain and can heal from anything, but she’ll be out of action for a bit, leaving them team with a dangerously low level of Wolverines.
This makes Trinary, who is able to control machines, angry.
Turns out Gabby was fine though, but at least Trinary got to show off her powers. She reprogrammed the sentinel so that it doesn’t kill mutants anymore, though it can still track them. Trinary also reveals that some of the anti-mutant protestors on the streets from the previous issue also have Sentinel programming running inside them. They’re still human, but also part sentinel.
The cops arrive, so the X-Men hitch a ride home on the back of their new pet sentinel. On the way, Trinary explains that her father turned her in to the government. Jean still believes in her vision of peaceful co-existence between humans and mutants, despite all of this. Trinary explains that she’s been monitoring anti-mutant propaganda on the web via the fake news model.
Those anti-mutant Kickstarters must be very lucrative. In any case, Trinary believes humans are being programmed to hate mutants.
In Louisiana, at an anti-mutant rally complete with red hats and tiki torches, a winged mutant named Cara tries to make peace with a group of anti-mutant Trump supporters, but they are about to attack her when Gambit intervenes. He uses his power to charge up all their tiki torches and make them explode. Most of the crowd disperses, but one lovely YouTube star gets out of his truck and aims a gun at Gambit. He fires, at the same time as Gambit throws a supercharged card at him. Gambit is okay. But Cara has been shot and killed. Tragic. But there were fine people on both sides.
Back on the Sentinel express, the team is almost back in Wakanda, when they notice a massive storm overhead. It’s the actual Storm, who must have been the mutant Cassandra Nova was talking to in the beginning of the issue. Nova told her to go and protect Wakanda. That’s what Storm is doing, calling the mutants abominations and blasting the sentinel out of the sky. That’s as good a cliffhanger as any.
X-Men Red is definitely on our list of X-books that should make the cut the next time there’s a culling. Evil Storm always makes for a good adversary, and we can’t wait to find out what Cassandra Nova is really up to. Could they ship this one twice a month instead of X-Men Gold? We mean, if they’ve gotta ship them twice a month, it might as well be the good ones.