The Fall of X direction has broken the X-Men franchise. Every mutant still alive after the 2023 Hellfire Gala are fighting for survival. Though there are certain mutants who are unable to fight back as Orchis has captured them. One of the key X-Men is currently the prisoner of Orchis. He is none other than Cyclops, who Doctor Stasis has taken personal interest in as a prisoner. Now it appears that the X-Men will try to save their leader. Will they be successful? Let’s find out with X-Men #27
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Phil Noto
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
“SOMETHING CAUGHT YOUR EYE? When Cyclops joined this iteration of the X-Men, his pitch was simple — “I am the X-Men.” If this is so, the enemies of X-Men seem to have this fight all sewn up.” – Marvel Comics
Given the urgency of saving Cyclops and other mutants that Orchis has prisoner the fact this is left unresolved was an exciting development in X-Men #27. This development allows Gerry Duggan to continue the one-shot style storytelling of X-Men while continuing the long-term plot with Orchis.
What made this rescue attempt with Cyclops work is how it continues the narrative with Shadowcat. Since the end of Hellfire Gala Shadowcat has been the lead character of the X-Men series. Duggan uses how badass Kate Pryde has become as Shadowcat to have the urgency felt from the start of X-Men #27. Shadowcat is not messing around and efficiently finds where both Juggernaut and Cyclops are.
This showcase of Shadowcat at the beginning of X-Men #27 was Kate’s maturity. Shadowcat isn’t going about being reckless or carrying about who she hurts. This is shown with Shadowcat first finding Juggernaut. We see the deep care she has for even Juggernaut, someone who she doesn’t have the best history with. But she knows how much Juggernaut has turned his life around that he does not deserve to be a prisoner.
Shadowcat showing this care for Juggernaut made Doctor Stasis showing the direct opposite at the end of X-Men #27 even more tragic. You immediately feel the pain of Shadowcat unintentionally causing Juggernaut to get beaten to near death by Orchis when its discovered his adamantium collar was removed. Making this even more tragic was that because of Shadowcat’s attempt to save him Doctor Stasis and Orchis discovered what was keeping Juggernaut alive.
Driving home the impact of this ending for X-Men #27 was how Firestar was used. It is clearly getting harder for Firestar to keep up her triple agent direction going. This latest development will be a massive test for how Firestar can maintain her composure to keep her mission going.
Adding to this is the selling point from the cover of X-Men #27 with Cyclops current state. Shadowcat’s reaction further drives home how bad of a state Orchis has left Cyclops. Orchis knows how important Cyclops is. Both in helping the X-Men and what he represents as their leader. His current state is a warning of what Orchis is capable of beyond annihilating mutants. This all adds urgency to the X-Men saving Cyclops.
With this opening Duggan transitions well into expanding on how careful the X-Men are being. Even if the situation they are in calls for a sense of urgency the battle against Orchis isn’t something to rush to. This attitude does a great job at selling why Synch is the leader the X-Men need right now. He is making sure that his teammates are thinking things through. While it was disappointing in the first moment that Synch became the X-Men leader at the Hellfire Gala tragedy we are seeing why he is what’s needed.
Duggan makes sure that it’s not just how Synch handles leading the X-Men members. It’s also how he handles when things went south with the Fantastic Four due to Rasputin IV going rogue. Synch keeps his cool and makes sure the mission is kept in mind.
Bringing back the plotline from the end of X-Men/Fantastic Four #4 with Xavier removing Reed Richard’s memory of creating a device to mask the mutant gene a great next move. With the battle against Orchis this is not a time for the hero community to be divided. The X-Men reaching out to the Avengers and Fantastic Four elevates the threat of Orchis. They are a big event-level villain group that the X-Men need to repair their relationships with other heroes.
That is not going to be easy as we see Reed and Sue Richards understandably not trust the X-Men. Given the line Xavier and Magneto crossed it makes sense this caused long-term damage. At the same time, Reed is adult enough to understand where mutants are at but still keeping his guard up with Sue’s help.
The only part that did not work was how rushed Duggan made the solution to Reed remembering how he created the mutant gene cloaking device. Ms. Marvel reminding Reed he used Terrigen Mist sample felt like a deus ex machina to resolve this plot before X-Men #27. It doesn’t help Ms. Marvel in particular, as this further points to how forced her addition to the X-Men franchise continues to be.
Phil Noto provides great artwork throughout X-Men #27. The way he shows Shadowcat using her powers was well done to get over her utilizing more of her ninja training. Rasputin IV powers were also shown well with how her mix of powers made her a Terminator-like threat. Her powers are an extension of her powers. It all added to how the fight Rasputin IV had with the Fantastic Four be more effective.
X-Men #27 does a great job bringing the attention back to the way the team is tackling the war with Orchis. Shadowcat once again steals the show with her rescue attempt to break out Cyclops and Juggernaut from Orchis’ facility. That along with how the ending of X-Men/Fantastic Four was brought back into play made this another strong comic book in the Fall of X direction.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10