Welcome to (another) new age of the X-Men. Jonathan Hickman has made his exit, and you have
new gods now a new creative force behind the Krakoan era’s biggest source of juicy drama: the Quiet Council. Immortal X-Men #1 is here to give us deeper insight into the ruling class of mutants in the Marvel Universe and all their Real Housewives of Krakoa antics.
In the wake of all the backstabbing that ensued from the resurrection of queer X-Men icon Destiny, Krakoa’s very own superpowered PTA is at loggerheads. But rather than being trapped by everything that came before, Immortal X-Men #1 builds its own niche with hooks for old readers and new. This is a very powerful creative team making something that fits with the modern X-Men line while staking its own claim on new territory.
Who is making Immortal X-Men #1?
Kieron Gillen returns to Marvel’s merry mutants after his decade-old run on Uncanny X-Men. Since then, he’s written many, many comics — including the wildly popular Young Avengers arc and creator-owned smash hit The Wicked + The Divine at Image, both with his regular collaborator Jamie McKelvie. He’s at his most Gillen-ish here with a dense cast of quippy characters constantly out-quipping each other, with none other than Mister Sinister — a character whose Krakoan-era incarnation as an amoral geneticist painted in the tone of high camp can be traced directly back to Gillen’s previous work — as our point of view character.
He’s joined by one of the current X-Office’s more prolific artists, Lucas Werneck, who does a great job balancing the text-heavy story with some quiet character moments, rather lovely art, and bombastic big reveals. Also along are Daniel Curiel on colors, who keeps the book feeling smooth, silky, and in line with the massive slate of X-Office books. And letterer Clayton Cowles delivers some of the funniest moments of the book with his striking lettering choices.
What is Immortal X-Men #1 about?
The truth about the Quiet Council is revealed! Yes, the most delightfully dramatic aspect of Krakoa — and what a high bar that is — is getting its own book after years of secrecy. But this is a Kieron Gillen story, so that’s just the logline that the real twist of this issue is hiding behind.
Why is Immortal X-Men #1 happening now?
You can thank Jonathan Hickman for that. Three years in and his 2019 relaunch of the X-Men line is still going strong. Now, as Hickman moves away from guiding the ever-expanding X-Office, the show must go on. Immortal X-Men #1 is only one of six new #1 issues from X-Men comics this month. So it’s a busy time for the X-Men and their many comics, but fans have been clamoring for a Quiet Council book since the introduction of the ruling mutant body. This will likely be one of, if not the, flagship X-titles of 2022.
Is there any required reading?
While this issue does welcome newcomers, introducing the large cast of the Quiet Council and some deep cut X-Men characters, prospective readers may want to do some due diligence by reading the catalyst for the current X-line, House of X/Powers of X. This 12-issue series by Jonathan Hickman launched the current landscape of X-books with a new vision for the characters. That included the creation of the Quiet Council, whose interior workings make up the central conflict and narrative of the book.
If you want to understand how the Quiet Council got to where they are at the beginning of the issue with more specificity, then you’ll want to grab the recent Inferno miniseries along with X Lives of Wolverine.
But the joy of all of the many, many X-books Marvel is currently producing is that you can read them laterally rather than linearly — they simply become additive to what you’ve already read. So if you want to just jump on with Immortal X-Men #1 and then catch up, that’ll likely be an equally as rewarding experience. Character-wise, there’s another book that has to be mentioned: Hellions, Zeb Wells and Stephen Segovia’s series about a Dirty Dozen style team lead by Mister Sinister. Not only is it the highlight of the recent X-Men line, but it’s also surprisingly relevant here. That’s all that can be said without spoiling too much, though, so just read that wonderful series and enjoy!
Is Immortal X-Men #1 good?
The short answer is yes! The longer answer is that Immortal X-Men #1 works really well as both a continuation of the general X-line — and, in a pleasant surprise, Hellions — as well as a jumping-on point for new readers.
Gillen and Werneck establish an accessible and entertaining introduction to the Quiet Council and its scheming members that will work well for folks less familiar with the sprawling X-continuity. But they also deliver a rewarding plot-heavy read for those who’ve put in the effort to stay up to date with the often overwhelming line of X-books. There’s plenty of fun in-jokes for long time X-fans and some good goofy laughs for those who aren’t as intimately entangled with characters like Destiny, Mystique, Mister Sinister, Hope Summers, et al.
Visually, Werneck and Curiel bring the petty conflicts of the Quiet Council to life beautifully. There are many moving pieces in play here and each character gets a moment to shine, as well as some very fun deep cut reintroductions. Werneck even manages to utilize the often jarring repeated panel well, changing just enough that a casual reader likely wouldn’t even notice. The opening in particular shows how well the pair work together as we get a really beautiful, engaging, and immersive flashback that demonstrates the power of a colorist and artist who get each other’s tone and vibe. These deft dips between quieter moments and the vibrant drama of Krakoa make the 40 pages of this oversized issue fly all the way to its satisfying sting of an ending.
One panel that popped
Shoutout to Clayton Cowles for one of the best uses of lettering/balloon placement in a current Big Two book. Laugh-out-loud hilarious stuff here.