Jean Grey is a Mutant, one of the world’s most powerful psychics and one of the founding members of The X-Men. She died years ago, but came back from the dead to a world that still needed heroes. But she sought a better way to fight the hatred and bigotry that threatened the world.
Her efforts at trying to establish a mutant homeland were blunted when she was framed for the murder of a UN Ambassador by Cassandra Nova – another telepath whose hatred for the Mutant race is unmatched. In addition to making Jean the most wanted woman on Earth, Nova also developed Sentites – nanite Sentinels capable of infecting people through social media, turning ordinary humans into anti-Mutant zealots and Mutants into self-loathing suicide bombers for Cassandra Nova’s war on Mutantkind. Thankfully, with a little help from her friends and fellow X-Men, Jean was able to prove her innocence and avert attacks on the Mutant-friendly nations of Wakanda and Atlantis.
The battle was won, but the war rages on. And now Cassandra Nova is sending whole swarms of Sentites towards major population centers in order to kick off the ultimate race war, turning humans into her slaves and mutants into weapons of mass destruction!
For what my money is worth, no comic in the past three decades has managed to live up to the legacy of X-Men quite as well as X-Men: Red. A bold statement, I know, but one I will stand behind.
What Tom Taylor has done with this series is magical, updating the basic idea of heroes fighting a world that hates and fears them for the modern world. I am not referring just to how The Sentities are a quantum leap in the portrayal of The Sentinels (giant robots are SO 1990’s!) but also how Taylor utilizes modern culture to enhance the metaphorical symbolism of The X-Men, with social media being used to literally weaponize bigotry by creating radicalized soldiers.
Concepts like that would make X-Men Red worth reading on their own. What keeps me reading it, however, is two elements I’ve found sorely lacking in other X-Men titles – humor and character. Now, I know countless X-Fans will argue this point with me, but I have personally found most of the X-Men comics I’ve read in the past to be full of themselves and overly serious as well as being rather flat in how they portrayed their characters. Taylor’s writing always finds room for a little bit of comedy and his characters are memorable and well-developed.
Great writing demands great artwork and Taylor is backed by a tremendous art team. Carmen Carnero is a fantastic visual storyteller, whose characters all have a unique appearance in terms of facial features and body types. The color art by Rain Beredo is suitably vibrant, with subtle shadings and changes throughout the page. And VC’s Cory Petit places his word balloons perfectly, never obscuring the artwork.
If you’re a fan of X-Men, this series will make you look at the characters in a new light. If you aren’t a fan of X-Men, this book will turn you into one. With great stories drawn from today’s headlines, memorable characters and fantastic artwork, X-Men Red is a must-read for all fans of the superhero genre. This is X-Men done right!