Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men is absolutely the gold standard for any superhero comic book currently on the market. Marvel needs to get down on their knees and pray to the comic book gods that Hickman decided to come back and work for them. Hickman is delivering writing what is simply far superior to anything else being published by Marvel. I am confident that X-Men #3 is going to be another impeccably written issue. Let’s go ahead and hit this review!
Words: Jonathan Hickman
Pencils: Leinil Francis Yu
Inks: Gerry Alanguilan & Leinil Francis Yu
Colors: Sunny Cho
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with several mutants picking flowers at the Harvest Center in the Savage Land. Suddenly, four old women in Steampunk armor come through the Krakoan gateway. They quickly take down the mutants by using guns that shoot a green goo.
We hop over to Krakoa where the Quiet Council is convening. Jean says that she loves Emma’s shoes. Emma thanks Jean and says that she would offer to let Jean borrow them, but that Emma’s shoes are a couple of sizes too small. (Damn! That is such a bitch burn! Good job, Hickman.) Jean replies that she is not into borrowing things. That borrowing things is more Emma’s thing. (Damn! Nice comeback!) Emma laughs and says that she deserved that. Emma says that she and Jean need to get a drink later. Jean agrees and says that Emma is paying. Emma responds that she always does.
We then get one informational page explaining why Krakoa is screaming. That the forced seizure of the Krakoan gateway in the Savage Land has caused Krakoa pain. This has caused Krakoan wildlife to get more aggressive. It has also caused all the telepaths on Krakoa to experience an increased level of psychic assault/consumption.
We also learn that Krakoa “feeds” on the psychic energy of mutants. That when Krakoa is at maximum growth it needs to consume two mutants a year. However, with the current mutant population of Krakoa, it only needs a minimal amount of psychic energy from each mutant citizen.
Protocols have been put into place to make sure Krakoa does not exceed its minimal psychic draw. Selene and Emplate, who also feed on mutants, have been put in charge of monitoring Krakoa’s psychic draw on the mutant residents.
We hop back to the Savage Land. The old ladies are named Opal, Lilly, Edith, and Augusta. They engage in some banter about who gets social security. Edith reveals that she actually gets her husband’s social security since it was a larger pay than hers. We learn that her husband was cheating on her and she killed him before he could divorce her so she could get his benefits.
We hop over to the Outback. Cyclops, Sebastian Shaw, and Emma Frost step through a Krakoan gateway. They meet with Gateway who can take them to the Savage Land since the Krakoan gateway there has been hacked and taken over by the old ladies.
We zip to the Savage Land and see Cyclops, Shaw, Emma, and Gateway appearing in front of the old ladies. The old ladies are busy picking the Krakoan flowers. The old ladies introduce themselves as Hordeculture. Shaw replies, “Whoredeculture?” (Ha!!! Well played, Hickman.)
The old ladies comment on how Emma is dressed like a ho with a serious dick problem. The old ladies say that Emma needs to go wash herself. Cyclops and Shaw stifle laughs while Emma’s jaw drops in shock. (This. Is. Gold. I love Hickman.)
Emma says that she does not fight old ladies and tells Cyclops that if he could hit these old ladies harder that it would only make Emma love Cyclops more.
Shaw then steps forward and says that he can handle the situation. Shaw complements the old ladies in their plan. Shaw explains that he is fine with breaking the law, too. Shaw says that there is no reason why they could not work out a business arrangement where Shaw sells the old ladies all the flowers that they desire.
The old ladies then shoot Shaw with some of the green goo and then start stomping and hitting him. The old ladies say that Shaw’s powers have been neutralized. (Interesting. The green goo that the old ladies have can rob mutants of their powers.) The old ladies then reject his offer.
Cyclops then blasts the old ladies with an optic blast. Augusta is on the ground and cries that Cyclops broke her hip. Cyclops rushes to her side and asks if he is okay. (Oh, damn, Scott. Don’t fall for the hurt old lady trap!) Augusta then shoots Cyclops with the green goo. The old ladies then start stomping on him.
Emma turns into her diamond form and tells the old ladies to stop. (Emma is being as useless as boobs on a bull.) The old ladies say that the mutants are screwing up their plan. The old ladies reveal that they are radical botanists who are tired of the evil agrochemical and biotech companies of the world. Therefore, the old ladies have created the Hordeculture Seed that will enable them to control all of the world’s food supply within ten years. Then they can decide what grows and what does not. They will decide who gets fed. When they activate the Hordeculture Seed that the world will return to its natural state. That they will then create an Earth with seven billion fewer people on it. (Jeez. Toxic femininity in action with these old ladies!)
The old ladies then say that the Krakoan flowers and Krakoa itself threaten to ruin their plans. Luckily, the old ladies were able to use their talents to hack the Krakoan gateway. They plan on studying the Krakoan flowers and figuring out how Krakoa works and then get Krakoa to agree to work with them or to try and bend Krakoa to their will. If they fail in either effort then the old ladies will simply pluck Krakoa like a weed.
The old ladies then step through the Krakoan gateway and leave. Emma stands there and looks at Gateway and says that Gateway was a lot of help. (What? Emma is a far more powerful fighter than Gateway. Why didn’t she do anything to try and stop the old ladies? Don’t blame poor old Gateway!)
We slide back to Krakoa. Emma, Scott, and Shaw appear in front of the Quiet Council. Emma says that they have a problem.
We then get a one-page informational insert giving information about Hordeculture. The members are August Bromes (Age 64), Opal Vetiver (Age 68), Lily Levmus (Age 71), and Edith Scutch (Age 81). That Hordeculture operates out of a mobile base of operations called The Green Thumb. It is currently located in Sedona, Arizona. End of issue.
The Good: X-Men #3 is a fantastic read. I love what Jonathan Hickman is doing on this title! I love that Hickman has made the X-Men THE premier franchise in the Marvel Universe. It has been a long time since the X-Men held that lofty status at Marvel Comics. Unfortunately, starting in 2000, the X-Men franchise continued to become more and more dilapidated until this once-storied franchise had become a mere shell of what it had been in the 1980s and 1990s. Yet, under the guiding hand of the ultimate architect in Jonathan Hickman, we have seen the X-Men franchise return to form and reclaim its crown as Marvel Comics’ crown jewel.
X-Men #3 is masterfully plotted and paced. Hickman moves the story forward at a tightly measured pace. A story as complex and detailed as what Hickman is giving us on X-Men requires a more measured pace in order to allow the reader to properly digest and process the information. The story has a natural flow and each scene pleasantly transitions into the next one.
Hickman’s stories have such an organic feel to the way the plotlines develop and X-Men #3 is no different. Hickman slowly and intelligently folds in new characters and new plotlines in a seamless fashion in X-Men #3. Hickman continues to juggle long-range plotlines with more medium and short-range plotlines. It is incredible how detailed each plotline is and how much meticulous work and effort Hickman puts into crafting his detailed story. Every tiny detail delivered in X-Men #3 has a point and purpose
I like that Hickman introduces yet another set of villains. Post House of X/Powers of X, Hickman has succeeded in giving the X-Men so many different battles with different groups of villains. This enables Hickman to make sure all of the various X-titles have different villains and conflicts to handle while still making sure all of them connect to gather as a part of a larger story for the X-Men franchise. Hickman makes sure that all of these various different plotlines mesh together in a cohesive fashion to form a far more engaging and complex universe for the X-Men franchise.
X-Men #3 provides the reader with another incredibly rich and dense story. There is so much depth and detail to X-Men #3 that it warrants several readings by the reader. Hickman’s setting for the X-Men continues to be insanely immersive. X-Men #3 continues that trend of fleshing out such a rich setting for this franchise. Hickman succeeds in making it easy for the reader to get completely consumed and lost in the X-Men universe.
I appreciate that Hickman gives the reader just enough action in X-Men #3 to keep the issue lively. I know that what makes Hickman so much fun is the cerebral stories with numerous complex plot lines. But, this is still superhero comics so some action is always necessary. Hickman gives the proper amount of action to keep most readers satisfied.
Hickman’s use of informational inserts in his issues continues to be a brilliant literary tool. The informational page on Krakoa was fantastic. Hickman is able to continue to flesh out Krakoa and mix in some new wrinkles and complexities to Krakoa. I continue to become more and more fascinated with Krakoa with each issue. There is no doubt that Krakoa is the most captivating and mysterious of all the characters in the X-Men franchise. The reader can tell that Hickman is having a blast writing Krakoa and letting his imagination run wild when it comes to this sentient island. I love that Hickman is placing so much work into the smallest details just to make Krakoa an even more immersive setting for the X-Men.
The informational page on the Hordeculture is not as exciting as the page on Krakoa, but it is still plenty interesting. I like that we get a bit more of a clear image of this group of villains. I love the concept of the Green Thumb as their mobile base. The name for the mobile base is pure genius. I love how Hickman gets genuinely excited over things like headquarters and secret bases and such. This is such a throwback to older comics from the 1960s-1980s.
Of course, what makes X-Men #3 such an excellent read is Hickman’s phenomenal character work and dialogue. All of the characters have richly developed external voices. The chemistry between the various characters is well done. Hickman’s judicious use of humor is both well-timed and consistent with the characters and situations.
I love that Hickman is keeping Cyclops as the focal point for the X-Men and rotating the rest of the roster of characters with each issue. This is an excellent approach to a franchise like the X-Men that possesses such a huge number of characters. Cyclops is the logical selection as the keystone character for the X-Men. Cyclops is the center of the X-Men universe and has always been the rock and foundation for this franchise. Hickman is beginning to show an understanding of Cyclops’ character that is reminiscent of Hickman’s understanding of Reed Richards’ character during Hickman’s Fantastic Four run.
Hickman continues to write an excellent Cyclops in X-Men #3. I love watching Hickman completely rehabilitate Cyclops’ horrendously broken character. Prior writers have handled Scott Summers in such a negligent fashion. It is wonderful to finally see a writer who truly understands Scott’s character and is committed to delivering an excellent version of Cyclops.
Hickman continues to impress with his handling of Emma Frost’s character. Hickman completely gets what makes Emma’s character so special. Many writers just deliver a “bitch” personality or an “ice queen” personality for Emma and call it a day. Not Hickman. Hickman gives the reader such a nuanced and textured version of Emma. Emma certainly can be icy and bitchy, but there is far more going on with Emma’s personality than that exterior.
Jean Grey does not get much panel time in X-Men #3, but what we got was brilliant. Hickman does a nice job keeping Jean a kind person while still giving her a bit of an edge in a polite manner. The scene between Jean and Emma is absolute gold.
Hickman also delivers a fantastic Sebastian Shaw. Hickman’s version of Shaw is so superior to the pathetically shallow and one-dimensional version that Gerry Duggan gives the reader in Marauders. Again, Hickman just seems to understand what makes particular characters tick and what makes them so special. Hickman gives Shaw that haughty personality and a complete lack of morals that makes Shaw’s character so damn fun.
Of course, the stars of the show in X-Men #3 is the new super-villain group Hordeculture. I cannot believe that Hickman surprised everyone by giving us the evil version of the Golden Girls!! And I do love me some Golden Girls. Golden Girls is easily one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Fight me.
Anyway, an evil version of the Golden Girls is absolutely brilliant! What a creative and unique group of villains. Hickman does a fanatics job with the personalities of all four members of Hordeculture. The chemistry between the evil Golden Girls is spot on. I am excited to see what Hickman does with these villains. I love the concept of radical horticulturalists being interested in Krakoa. I also like the creative idea of them hacking the Krakoan gateway. This is an excellent example of Hickman’s creativity in full effect.
As long-time followers of the Revolution know, I am not a huge fan of Leinil Yu’s style of artwork for mainstream superhero comics. Yu’s art is really tailor-made for horror comics. It is a shame he cannot get more work on in that genre because he would really shine.
Yu’s artwork is actually a perfect match for the shriveled-up old ladies of Hordeculture. I continue to be thrilled that Yu has evolved his art concerning how he draws female characters’ faces. He has smoothed out how he draws their faces and has ditched all of the unnecessary lines. Unfortunately, Yu still delivers a horror show with all of the male characters’ faces. I wish that Yu would apply his same approach with female characters over to the male characters.
The Bad: Hickman’s pacing may irritate some readers. As I said earlier in this review, I am completely enjoying the pacing and find it to be proper given the type of complex story that Hickman is telling. However, I completely understand why this pacing would not work at all for some readers.
Overall: X-Men #3 is another superlative issue. Jonathan Hickman is operating at a completely higher level than other comic book writers. X-Men is once again the premier Marvel title and is an absolute must-read. This comic is well worth the cover price.
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