Written by: Johnathan Hickman
Art by: Leinil Francis Yu
Colors by: Sunny Gho
Lettering by: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Over the first ten issues of Hickman’s run on X-men each issue has stood as both a successful self-contained story and provided small teases to larger connected plots. Issue #10 maintains that format as mainly a stand alone story, but buried within are ramifications for both Marvel’s Empyre event and the stability of Krakoa’s society.
The story centers on Vulcan, Gabriel Summers, and the power and pain within him. Vulcan first appeared in the Deadly Genesis event in the mid-2000’s and was the onetime emperor of the Shi’ar empire. This connection to the Shi’ar and their enemies provides context for the flashbacks Vulcan experiences in this issue. Vulcan, is living with his brother, Scott Summers, and the extended Summers family on the moon and discovers a base of Cotati on the moon. Thus, the Empyre tie-in. The tie-in is minor and knowledge of the crossover is not a requirement. The Cotati confront Vulcan and become aware of the threat the mutants pose to their plans.
While the confrontation with the Cotati is brief, the visual execution is satisfyingly superb. Yu’s art is haunting at times from the isolation of the moon and the isolation Vulcan is emotionally enduring. Yu’s plant like Cotati are organically menacing. Outside of a page late in the book of the Summer’s on vacation, each panel is consistently detailed and creates a comprehensive feel for the book. Sunny Gho’s colors deserve special recognition since they help to sustain a comprehensive feel. The colors capture the emotional tone of the different settings. Yu and Gho’s work on the Vulcan-Cotati battle demonstrates the scale of how powerful he is as an omega level mutant and how threatening he can be.
Hickman continues to add small pieces to a larger narrative, and Yu, and Gho create another solid visual experience. Even though readers have not seen a payoff, the stand alone stories of each chapter in Hickman’s grand design remain worth reading.