by Simon Spurrier (Writer), Khoi Pham (Artist) Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist)

The Story: David shows Cyclops his master plan concerning many of his goals during a somewhat heated discussion. Irony then ensues…

The Review: Simon Spurrier sure knows how to anticipate the expectations of his readers. While it is hard nowadays to truly surprise anyone in most medias, he seems to be able to do so as he plays around with his status quo and with the premise of his story. Doing so in this issue, Spurrier advance the general subplots alongside his characterization David, creating some astonishing moments in this issue. However, for all those surprises, does it advance his general plot as well as create an interesting issue overall?

It’s a bit of a hit and miss, really, as while Spurrier plays to his strengths in this issue, there are some weird pacing issues in this month’s instalment that make for a bit of an unsatisfying experience when it comes to the payoff of some of the longer running subplots.

The strongest point, though, is the characterization as David is being one of the more interesting mutant characters thanks to the reinvention of the character by Spurrier. The use of his powers, his methods alongside how he operates shows the inherent problem the character needs to go through, which is consistent with his evolution as well as his actions throughout this arc. On the thematic side of things, this issue has a very strong display on how David perceive the mutant world and the battle between humans and mutants.

Where it goes a bit off, though, is precisely how this issue handles some scenes involving this conflict, as the dialogue between David and Cyclops sucks a good amount of panel time from this comic. While the discussion between those two certainly isn’t boring and provide some interesting lines, it’s a bit too short as the subject matter soon give in to a big plot twist that propel the story forward despite the strength of this scene. The many back and forth on the subject of mutants and their war against the general ignorance of people do shed a light on how both parties see this whole conflict, with Spurrier decidedly getting how each of these characters think. It’s an earnest moment yet it gives way to perhaps one of the weakest moment of this issue.

This weaker moment is the aforementioned plot twist, which do come as surprising as well as in-character as far as it goes, yet it’s a bit too fast as well as it eats up a lot of pages. The way it is written is sound and the results of such a scene is something that was built from the very beginning of this series, yet it’s a bit too much sometimes. It is meant to be chaotic and it stress that point very well, yet it seems to come out of nowhere, as if Spurrier simply had to add that twist right here because of his schedule and not because of natural plot progression. The twist, as a result, comes more as a necessity than as a payoff to the previous scenes, which make it seems a bit disconnected from the rest of the issue. It is strong, yet it feel irrelevant to what happened before.

What’s a bit weaker, yet is relevant to the whole issue is the art of Khoi Pham, which isn’t on par with the previous issue. Without the strength of the action and all that it entailed, Pham instead focus on the interaction between the characters in a mostly static way. His expressions and the mannerism of his characters are fine, yet it’s the anatomy that is wrong in a lot of places. There are many instances where the characters simply look too sketchy and seem to change size, with David becoming buff and thin between panels. It happens to some of the other characters too, like Cyclops, making the characters look inconsistent all the while. It doesn’t help that a lot of the details in the background look muddy, making some of the finer points a bit rough to look at. It’s not the whole issue that suffers from these problems, yet it is apparent enough that it can be qualified as a problem to begin with.

The colorization of Rachelle Rosenberg suffers a bit as a result, yet she does seem to make efforts in this issue despite that. The way she lights up powers with brighter colorization against the colder background is sound, but it’s not the strongest thing she does in this issue. What she uses with great effect is a simple contrasting technique between the scene in reality and the ones in David’s mind, using very warm colors against colder one, creating a disparity between the two that works really well. The chaos and trouble in his mind can be then seen in reality, which do help this scene despite its sudden appearance.

The Conclusion: There is an interesting conflict at the center of this issue, with some terrific dialogue as well as some good characterization and concepts, yet the contrived plot twist along with the weaker art makes the issue suffer a bit as a result. It’s interesting, yet it could have been better.

Grade: B-

Hugo Robberts Larivière