Writer: Brian Wood
Penciler: Olivier Coipel
Inkers: Mark Morales & Olvier Coipel
Colorist: Laura Martin
Review by Joey Braccino
Brian Wood’s all-female team takes the fight to the techno-virus Arkea in this week’s conclusion to X-Men’s first arc. Storm, Rachel Grey, Psylocke, and Rogue track the villain to Budapest, where she/it is commandeering any and all technology in sight. Despite the powerhouses on the team, the X-Men hold back on smashing Arkea’s face in because she has taken over the sentinel-body of ally and friend, Karima Shapandar. Drama ensues.
Meanwhile, Kitty Pryde and a gaggle of students battle more digital constructs at the Jean Grey School. Kitty has to learn to let her students do what they’re trained to do—i.e. fight!—while she makes some difficult and expensive choices. Even more drama ensues.
And on top of all that, Jubilee’s baby gets a name! Yay!
Brian Wood’s X-Men is just good storytelling. The characterization is on-point. The script finds the perfect balance between humor and melodrama. The tension throughout is palpable and the emotional conflict at the center of the story—what to do about Karima—builds to an incredibly intense climax. As the away team of X-Men move through the seemingly abandoned hallways of a Budapest hospital, the suspense is almost unbearable. And then when Arkea/Karima’s “recruits” appear out of the shadows… ish gets real.
Where this issue really succeeds is in Coipel’s artwork. We at Talking Comics have a special affinity for Coipel’s cinematic approach to storytelling; his naturalistic pencils and innovative layouts maintain a sense of dynamism and experimentation distressingly lacking in today’s comics. So the incredible quality of this issue’s artwork is not surprising. What is surprising, though, his Coipel’s ability to capture the nuanced expression and suspicious side-glances critical to Wood’s intended mood and characterization. Even Jubilee’s little baby gets some interesting facial expressions that might suggest all is not what it seems.
Buy. The X-Universe is rolling right now under the excellent direction of stellar writers like Brian Wood. The intrigue is high in X-Men #3, resulting in one of the more suspenseful, action-packed rides on the stands today. In addition to the explosions and fisticuffs, Wood imbues his narrative with humor and drama, accented by Coipel’s deft pencils and character work. Check it!