Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men is currently Marvel’s crown jewel. No other Marvel title can come close to the quality of writing and complexity and depth of story that Hickman’s X-Men delivers each and every month. I am more than confident that X-Men #6 will be another high-quality read. Let’s go ahead and hit this review!
Words: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Matteo Buffagni
Colors: Sunny Gho
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with a flashback scene of Mystique and Destiny sitting together and watching the sunset. Destiny says that she is going to tell Mystique something that is not going to sound believable but it is all true.
We cut to the present day at the Orchis Forge. We see that Orchis has successfully set up their defense ring around Mercury and their Watchtower on Venus. Sentinel City continues to grow. The weapons systems on the Orchis Forge are now online.
We shift to Director Devo placing his finishing touches on a new piece of tech. Omega Sentinel comments that Devo’s work is perfect. A henchman enters the room. Director Devo gives the new piece of machinery to the henchmen and tells him to go give it to Doctor Gregor.
We slide to the henchman entering Doctor Gregor’s lab and handing her the new piece of machinery from Director Devo. We see that Doctor Gregor is assembling a Nimrod robot.
We flashback to a scene that takes place right after the scene between Mystique, Professor X, and Magneto in Powers of X #1. Professor X and Magneto are still meeting with Mystique. Mystique says that she has demands. Professor X replies that he has further demands, too. Professor X says that they are ruling a better mutant world and everyone who would live in it owes something.
Magneto says that Mystique will join Cyclop’s team headed to the Orchis Forge. But, they have an additional secret mission for Mystique. Professor X hands Mystique a Krakoan plant.
We cut to Nightcrawler teleporting Mystique aboard the Orchis Forge. This scene takes place during the events of House of X #4. We see Mystique take the form of an Orchis henchman and plants the Krakoan flower in the Orchis Forge’s garden. Mystique then heads over to the fourth collar lock for the Mother Mold where Doctor Gregor is located. Doctor Gregor hits a button that opens a hatch and Mystique gets sucked out into space. (This is the exact same scene from House of X #4.)
We see Mystique floating in space. We see the words of Professor X saying that if Mystique plants the Krakoan seed in the Orchis Forge then they get what they want and Mystique gets what she wants. And they both know what Mystique wants. We see Mystique crying and then she dies.
We shift to Mystique being reborn in the Resurrection Chamber on Krakoa. This is the scene from House of X #5.
We zip to later with Professor X and Magneto meeting with Mystique. Magneto says that Mystique and the rest of Cyclops’ team died beyond the reach of Cerebro so they were reincarnated to their last backup right before they left for their mission. Therefore, they do not know if Mystique was successful in planting the Krakoan seed on the Orchis Forge.
Magneto says that they need Mystique to go through the Krakoan gateway to see if the planting was successful. That the gateway will not work if the planting failed. However, if Orchis found the Krakoan flower then Mystique may be walking into a trap.
Mystique transforms into an Orchis henchman and walks through the Krakoan gateway and appears on the Orchis Forge. We see that the henchman who entered Director Devo’s lab and then took the piece of machinery to Doctor Gregor was actually Mystique.
We see Mystique looking at the Nimrod robot. We then see Mystique with a knife drawn and staring at Doctor Gregor while she sleeps.
We hop back to Krakoa with Mystique telling Professor X and Magneto that the good news is that the Krakoan flower is successfully planted on the Orchis Forge and undetected. However, the bad news is that Doctor Gregor is nearly done creating a Nimrod robot.
Magneto asks if Mystique took care of Doctor Gregor and the Nimrod. Mystique replies that mutants now have laws. Magneto says that their laws do not apply to humans. Magneto asks why Mystique did not take care of the issue. Mystique replies that they needed to know and now they do.
Professor X says that Mystique is hiding something. Mystique says that she has done her part and that she is not doing anything else until Professor X brings back Destiny. Professor X asks after all the years of backstabbing by Mystique if she really thinks that they can trust her. Professor X says that Destiny will return when Mystique has earned it. Magneto says that Mystique must go back and destroy the Nimrod.
Mystique says that she will go back tomorrow. Professor X thanks Mystique. Mystique says that she always hated Professor X. Professor X says that she hated and feared him and he has grown numb to it. Professor X says that all of this is bigger than him and everyone else and certainly bigger than Mystique.
We shift to the Oracle. We see Mystique pouring herself a drink and thinking about her conversation with Destiny as they watched the sunset. Destiny says that after she is gone something is going to happen that will sound too good to be true. That there will be an island and it will seem to be hope for mutants. That Mystique will be invited in and will be lifted up and then they will deny Mystique the one thing she wants. They will make promises but they will do everything to not honor their word because they will be afraid. They want us blind for some reason.
Destiny says when those days come that Mystique must remember these words, “Bring me back.” And if Mystique cannot bring Destiny back or if they refuse to bring Destiny back then Mystique shall burn the place to the ground. We see Mystique drinking a glass of wine while looking at Destiny’s mask. End of issue.
The Good: X-Men #6 is a brilliant read. Hickman delivers a fantastic read that delivers an immersive story chock full of incredible character work that captivates the reader’s attention from cover to cover. Hickman flexes his writing prowess as he constructs a phenomenally detailed and intricate story. It is obvious that Hickman relishes in fleshing out even the smallest of details.
Hickman is simply a masterful wordsmith. X-Men is wonderfully plotted. This should be of no surprise. Hickman possesses an uncanny long-term vision and the ability to juggle numerous complex and detailed plot-lines in an organic and intelligent fashion. I love that Hickman continues the style of plotting and storytelling that he began with House of X and Powers of X. From the very start, Hickman has continued the style of storytelling of going back to past scenes and fleshing them out with new information and details that completely change the reader’s view of those prior scenes. Hickman also has demonstrated his incredible vision and plotting by constantly weaving in small moments from prior issues into the current storyline.
It is a joy to watch how Hickman layers in the older plotlines back into the current story. Hickman does this in X-Men #6 multiple times. The overarching revelation of X-Men #6 is that Destiny told Mystique about Krakoa and the threat that it presents to mutants as well as Professor X being unwilling to bring Destiny back to life. This references the events of House of X #2 where Destiny reveals to Moira that Destiny knows about Moira’s secret mutant power. Also, this is where Destiny swears to keep killing Moira if Moira does not agree to stop trying to “cure” being a mutant.
This is a huge revelation. While Mystique may not know Moira’s secret mutant power, Mystique is now armed with the knowledge that Krakoa is not what it seems and that Professor X is so afraid of Destiny for some reason that he will refuse to bring Destiny back to life. I love that Hickman is going all the way back to House of X #2 to pick up on this storyline and progress it forward.
With this plot revelation, Hickman has now created yet another threat to Krakoa. However, the difference is that the other threats to Krakoa that Hickman has created in Orchis, Xeno, and foreign governments opposed to Krakoa have all been external threats. With X-Men #6, Hickman unveils the threat from within Krakoa in the form of Mystique.
Keep in mind that this is no ordinary threat from within Krakoa. Mystique possesses a coveted seat on the Counsel of 12. Mystique presents an extremely powerful internal threat to Professor X and his dream of Krakoa. Of all the threats facing Krakoa, the threat that Mystique presents is the one that I find the most compelling and fascinating.
Hickman also doubles back and fills in extra scenes after what we saw between Mystique, Magneto, and Professor X back in Powers of X #1. This new information offered the surprise detail that Mystique had a separate secret mission from the rest of Cyclops’ strike-force that was sent to the Orchis Forge. Again, I love how Hickman is able to provide extra depth and nuance to an earlier scene. The revelation that Professor X had Mystique plant a Krakoan flower on the Orchis Forge is a wonderful plot twist. This now enables the X-Men quick and unfettered access to their enemy’s main headquarters. This continues Hickman’s trend of making the story more and more complex and surprising with each issue.
Hickman also returns to the events of House of X #4 when we saw Mystique telling Cyclops that she got lost on the Orchis Forge and that is why it took her a while to make her way to the fourth and final collar locks on the Orchis Forge. Hickman reveals in X-Men #6 that Mystique was not lost at all. Instead, Mystique was planting the Krakoan flower in the Orchis Forge. Again, it is so enjoyable to get new information that makes the reader see an older scene through completely different eyes.
Hickman returning to prior scenes in earlier issues and fleshing them out by adding new plot twists and wrinkles makes the story seem more organic and elaborate. This also allows the reader to go back and read prior issues and enjoy them from an entirely different viewpoint. The reader is able to see the small details, hints, and clues that Hickman sprinkles into his story that the reader completely missed during their first reading of the prior issues.
This style of writing of going back and adding additional layers to prior scenes in past issues is a testament to Hickman’s unparalleled plotting abilities and attention to detail. There are very few writers who could come close to pulling off this style of writing.
X-Men #6 also treats the reader to some of Hickman’s usual incredible character work. Mystique and Professor Xavier carry this issue on their shoulders. I love Hickman’s handling of both of these characters. The friction and energy between Mystique and Professor X are palpable in every scene with the two of them. The moment where Mystique tells Professor X that she hates him and has always hated him was the emotional highlight of X-Men #6.
I continue to enjoy Hickman’s version of Charles Xavier. Professor Xavier remains a creepy cult leader. Xavier also displays a callus difference for the individual in order to achieve his goals for the collective of mutant-kind. Xavier continues to view individual mutants as mere pawns on his chessboard rather than actual people. The cold and cruel manner in which Xavier manipulates and controls Mystique is chilling. There is no doubt that Hickman continues to write Professor Xavier, and the X-Men in general, as villains.
Hickman also does a fantastic job with Mystique’s character. Mystique is no saint and the reader clearly understands that fact. However, Hickman manages to make Mystique into a sympathetic character in X-Men #6. That is not an easy task. It is a testament to Hickman’s writing that the reader feels genuine sympathy for Mystique. In fact, the reader begins to root for Mystique as she plans her counterattack against Xavier and Magneto.
Matteo Buffagni does a fine job with the artwork in X-Men #6. Buffagni’s style of art is a nice match for the mood of Hickman’s story. Buffagni does an impressive job with an issue that offers little in the way of dynamic action. X-Men #6 is a dialogue-heavy issue and Buffagni does a good job conveying the emotions of the various characters.
The Bad: I have no criticism of this issue.
Overall: X-Men #6 is another excellent read. Jonathan Hickman continues to make the X-Men Marvel’s premier title. And it simply is not even close. The quality of writing on X-Men is a clear cut above anything else that Marvel is currently publishing. X-Men #6 is definitely worth the cover price.
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