The X-Men have been in the middle of a semi-crossover with Captain Marvel as they deal with their own crisis involving the Brood. In the process, the X-Men learned about a game-changing development as Nightmare revealed he severed Broo’s connection to the Brood. This explains a lot about what has been going on with the Brood during this X-Men and Captain Marvel crossover story. Now the question is how will this Brood crisis be solved. Let’s find out with X-Men #21.
Writer: Gerry Dugan
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Colorist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
After Jean Grey defeats Nightmare she, Magik, and Broo teleport away and meet up with Forge and Monet, who have returned to Earth-616 Universe with Knowhere, now located by Jupiter.
Meanwhile, in the middle of space, the X-Men are shocked when all the refugees they saved suddenly turn into the Brood. With no other option, Synch taps into Polaris’s powers and uses them to send all the Brood into space, killing them immediately.
Psylocke finally gets a message to the X-Men about her team with Captain Marvel dealing with the Brood Empress.
Hearing this and after what they experienced Cyclops is set to wipe out the Brood. At that moment Jean, Broo, Magik, Forge, and Monet appear and Broo immediately is against Cyclops’ plan. Jean also voices her opposition to Cyclops’ plan that results in genocide. Things get tense with neither Cyclops nor Jean backing down. The argument is settled with Cyclops telling Jean and Broo that he won’t kill the Brood that Broo can’t get back under control.
With Jean and Forge’s help, Broo is able to get some of the Brood back under his hive mind and finds a home for them in Knowhere. Jean leaves Broo with words about finding redemption but he should get some sleep before going about it. End of issue.
Gerry Duggan and Stefano Caselli certainly know how to deliver a tense comic book as proven by X-Men #21. The tension doesn’t come from any sort of action sequence. Rather what the tension comes from is the various decisions the X-Men are forced to make throughout this final chapter of the “Lord Of The Brood” storyline.
As X-Men #21 progresses the warning Nightmare makes to Jean Grey after she defeats him starts feeling like it could be ringing true. Caselli, through his artwork, does a great job showing how even though Jean does defeat Nightmare the villain’s words do hit home for her. Even in her confidence, Jean knows that tough decisions will continue to have to be made, even if she doesn’t know what those decisions are yet.
This blends in well to show how while the X-Men were all dealing with this Brood crisis they had two very different experiences because of how they split the team up. Whereas Jean and Magik were able to get an understanding of the cause of this Brood crisis the rest of the X-Men didn’t. All Cyclops, Synch, Talon, Iceman, and Firestar experienced was the horror of what could happen to the universe if the Brood were allowed to continue their actions.
Synch being forced to make the split-second decision of killing the refugees turned into Brood is given the time to show how it wasn’t an easy decision. While it shows Synch’s experience it does not mean the pain of knowing you had no other choice is any easier. The only criticism there is with this scene is Duggan’s narration. Throughout X-Men #21 Duggan inserts himself into the story when it wasn’t needed. The aftermath of the refugees’ turned Brood was an example of how Duggan should’ve had trust in Caselli’s art to tell the story of how Synch and Talon were feeling at that moment.
That said, with all that happened Duggan does a great job showing how hard this Brood crisis has been on the team. For the first time in the Krakoa Era, we see Scott Summers and Jean Grey get into a big disagreement. Even when they were doing their own things before forming the X-Men again we saw that Scott and Jean same page as they supported one another. This makes this argument about how to deal with the Brood an even bigger moment.
Throughout this disagreement, Duggan makes sure that both Jean and Scott are standing on the same level. They are after all the co-leaders of the X-Men and we see that in how they interact even as they are arguing against each other. This hopefully is something Duggan takes the chance to explore Scott and Jean’s dynamic as leaders and he nor other X-Men writers make this a reason to break them up. There is a lot of potential for a stronger arc as what makes Scott and Jean work as co-leaders is that do bring different perspectives and don’t agree 100% of the time.
The way things ended does create a lot of questions for the Brood’s future. While Jean and Broo were able to keep the Brood from becoming an extinct species the hard work is now ahead. Broo now has to deal with the entire universe being against the Brood. The Brood already didn’t have the best name in the Marvel Universe. But now they are at their lowest point. This creates an intriguing story we hopefully see one of the X-Men titles tackle in the future.
As mentioned, Caselli’s artwork gets across the weight of the decisions the X-Men have to make throughout this issue. Even with minimal action, Caselli creates a lot of impact with how various characters talk and react to actions that need to be taken. This all helped elevate the impact this Brood crisis had when all was said and done.
In crisis no decision is easy to make and X-Men #21 shows the weight that comes with what must be done. In the process, we get a solid conclusion to the “Lord Of The Brood” storyline. Scott Summers and Jean Grey fans in particular will have a lot to talk about as the co-leaders of the X-Men had to make tough decisions. Where this all leads to creates greater interest in where the X-Men will go from here.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10