X-Men #25 Review – “From The Shadows”

The mutants are in the roughest spot they been in during the Krakoa Era in the aftermath of the 2023 Hellfire Gala. Orchis completely decimated everything built on Krakoa and killed the majority of the mutant population. And they did it in the most brutal way possible by forcing Charles Xavier to use his telepathy to do this. Now mutants are back to the “feared and hated” status quo that has been a part of the franchise before House of X and Powers of X. One o the big question marks around this new status quo is what will happen to the X-Men team. Because just as the new roster was announced Nimrod killed the majority of the new X-Men team members. With no official X-Men team what does this mean for the core title? Let’s find out with X-Men #25.


Writer: Gerry Duggan

Artist: Stefano Caselli

Colorist: Marte Gracia

Letterer: Clayton Cowles


Weeks after the events of the Hellfire Gala, Dr. Stasis holds a rally in New York City announcing what happened to the mutants and how Orchis is filling the role let by SHIELD’s absence. At that same time, Feilong negotiates with the United States President about how to use the Stark Sentinels and other war machines Orchis controls.

Later it is shown Dr. Stasis has captured and operated on Cyclops to have his eyes permanently closed. When Cyclops turns down the offer to “work” for Orchis Dr. Stasis mocks the former X-Men leader about his position.

Meanwhile, in the Morlock tunnels, Synch works with Talon, Rasputin IV, and Ms. Marvel as the new X-Men to investigate how to fight back against Orchis. Synch coordinates the X-Men’s efforts with Captain America (Steve Rogers) and the Avengers.

Emma Frost & Kamala Khan - X-Men #25
Emma Frost helps restore Kamala Khan’s secret identity with her second chance at life in X-Men #25. Credit: Marvel Comics

It’s also revealed Emma Frost restored Ms. Marvel’s secret identity restored and all knowledge of her. Emma also has adopted a new identity, calling herself Hazel Kendel, and working as Tony Stark’s secretary.

Meanwhile, Forge finds himself trapped in Ecuador as the Children of the Vault escape their captivity.

As all this is going down Kate Pryde has returned to calling herself Shadowcat and uses the katanas Ogun gave her to go on her own hunt of Orchis, utilizing the fact she is the only one that can use the Krakoa Gates to help.

With everyone worried how far she is pushing herself Shadowcat finally reveals to Emma that when she went through the Krakoa Gate by accident after the Hellfire Gala she ended up in Jerusalem surrounded by Orchis agents. Triggered by what happened at the Hellfire Gala, Shadowcat held nothing back and used her powers to kill all the Orchis agents that surrounded her.

After telling this to Emma, Shadowcat states she is going to kill Firestar and leaves alone. End of issue.


As the architect of Fall of X Gerry Duggan made many questionable decisions during the 2023 Hellfire Gala. Because of so many questionable decisions it was important that Duggan nailed the direct aftermath to make sure Fall of X is something that brings in fans for the ride instead of turning them away. That is where Duggan is most successful with his work on X-Men #25 that examines the ramifications of Orchis actions during the Hellfire Gala.

Duggan and the X-staff have certainly gone all in on Orchis having the world view mutants through their extremist, hateful vision. The opening of X-Men #25 works to show that the Fall of X is going beyond just being an X-Men event. This is something that will touch on elements across the Marvel Universe. Dr. Stasis invoking SHIELD and Feilong working on an agreement with the US President are examples of that. Orchis is riding their ultimate high as they completely control the narrative for how mutants are perceived.

That control Orchis currently has makes the dire straits that mutants are in feel like its at their absolute worst. There is a mix of all the greatest hits from all the dark futures we’ve seen the X-Men franchise tackle throughout its history. We see that with how throughout X-Men #25 we are taken across the universe for glimpses of the current state for mutants. The oversized page count was something Duggan maximized to great effect to get over the Fall of X status quo.

The only problem was that Duggan didn’t have complete control over the shifts in the timeline he was working with. Duggan went back and forth between present day and flashback scenes that it made it hard to follow when things were happening. Many things like Forge being stuck in Ecuador and Shadowcat getting her swords wasn’t fully clear when they happened in relation to each other.

While the time jumps were not clean they were all still effective in telling the narrative of the Fall of X status quo. Obviously the standout was Kate Pryde transformation back to going by Shadowcat. This is by far the most badass version of Kitty Pryde that we got. Duggan did a great job at given more weight to Kate becoming Shadowcat again with her wielding the katanas Ogun gave her being a great added touch.

Shadowcat snaps - X-Men #25
Kate Pryde holds nothing back by using deadly force in her return as Shadowcat in X-Men #25. Credit: Marvel Comics

Making things more interesting is how Shadowcat will no longer be holding back. Everything she experienced before and during the Hellfire Gala was a trigger to see no other option then use deadly force. It certainly shows the impact Orchis had as they pushed even Shadowcat to not hesitate to kill her opponents. Now, using the training Wolverine provided her, Shadowcat is set up to be the ultimate assassin.

This new direction for Shadowcat is also given an intriguing personal end goal with her hunting Firestar. Jean Grey using her final moments to get Firestar bought into infiltrating Orchis as the “X-Men traitor” is given yet another major wrinkle. There is now this personal rivalry established with Shadowcat and Firestar that the latter is not ready for at all. It certainly makes Firestar’s arc one to watch across the X-Men titles.

While Shadowcat is getting in full Wolverine mode it was good to see Synch continue to step up in absence of both Cyclops and Jean Grey. Even though his time as X-Men leader did not get off to a great start Synch is still carrying that title by assembling the best team he can with the resource available. Throughout X-Men #25 we see Synch not falter in the decisions he makes. Even with how Shadowcat does her solo act Synch makes sure the rest of the X-Men stay on task to strike back against Orchis.

Adding credibility to Synch as the X-Men leader is the partnership with the Avengers. With the world turned against them it is even more important that the superhero community does everything they can to help mutants. Captain America leading the way is a big positive as it adds greater importance to what the Uncanny Avengers team represent this time around.

And while he does not have a speaking role Duggan does make sure through other characters dialogue Tony Stark is spotlighted. Afterall, it can be said he is responsible for Orchis have the final elements they needed to deal the devastating blow to Krakoa with their control of all his Stark tech. This is by far the most interesting thing Duggan could’ve done for his coinciding Iron Man run.

It also gives even more explanation for the upcoming wedding between Emma Frost and Tony. We see here that Emma is going to be doing her own things from shadows that is different from Shadowcat. Establishing that she and Tony have made an agreement to help her hide in plain site as his assistant provides the groundwork for what their announced marriage will be. Emma carefully using her powers for short bursts of time also makes when she chooses to use her powers a bigger deal than before.

Speaking of Emma’s power usage, for as messy as it has been when it comes to revealing Ms. Marvel as a mutant-Inhuman hybrid X-Men #25 does a lot to establish her as part of the team. It says a lot about Kamala Khan that she would risk her second chance at life and her secret identity restored to help the X-Men out. With the X-Men needing all the help they can get having Ms. Marvel on the team is a big deal.

Dr. Stasis taunts Cyclops - X-Men #25
Dr. Stasis taunts a captured Cyclops about the fall of the mutants in X-Men #25. Credit: Marvel Comics

With this position for the X-Men it makes the rescue of Cyclops even more important thing that needs to happen. The fact no one knows that Cyclops is alive makes his situation captured by Orchis and his eyes surgically shut even worse for the former X-Men leader. But showing his fortitude, even in this situation Cyclops will not sell out the X-Men even when Dr. Stasis gives him a chance at freedom. The whole narrative between Cyclops and Dr. Stasis has been an interesting twist on the previous obsession Mr. Sinister had with Scott Summers and Jean Grey.

Driving home how big of a deal X-Men #25 is was Stefano Caselli fantastic artwork. There is big event-level energy coming from the artwork that adds to how important this entire issue is to getting over the Fall of X direction. Dr. Stasis cult leader-like speech in New York City and later offer to Cyclops is given the weight to show how bad things have gotten for our heroes. Caselli also nails the significance of Kate Pryde’s return to the Shadowcat and Emma giving Kamala her second chance at life. Everything just comes together well because of Caselli’s art.


X-Men #25 was exactly what the Fall of X is in the fallout of the 2023 Hellfire Gala. Gerry Duggan and Stefano Caselli maximize the oversize comic book page count to show the reach all the damage Orchis did to mutants did with their devastating attack. With that we get several intriguing storylines to follow in the main X-Men series and in other X-books that makes you want to read what is next with Fall of X.

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10