Jonathan Hickman’s main X-Men series has been an interesting beast. As the core X-Men series this comic book has been telling a series of one-shot stories that feed into the greater narrative of the franchise. Hickman is both using what’s going on in other X-Men series and this one to feed into each other. We are seeing that once again with X-Men #9 as Hickman ties his latest story to what’s been going on over in the New Mutants series, which has featured the team out in space dealing with the Shi’ar Empire. How will things go for the latest X-Men team that Cyclops has assembled? Let’s find out with X-Men #9.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: 8,000 years ago members of Kree’s Black Judges (a secret wing of the Accusers) present an Accuser with a member of the Brood they found spawning in the dark matter flow of a collapsed universe. They show how the Broods can be adaptive by feeding the Brood they captured a different alien species. The Brood immediately turns the alien into another member of the Broods.
The Accuser finds this interesting. As the Accuser kills the two Broods he asks what the purpose of showing him this is. The Black Judges reveal that they want to produce a patriarchal element that will allow them to use the Broods as weapons to disrupt rival civilizations. The Black Judges show the Accuser the King Egg (a container with a serum that will give its host complete control of the Brood for an estimated 5-10 Kree cycles) they created that will allow them to do this.
The Accuser presents all this to the Supreme Intelligence to help render a final judgement. The Supreme Intelligence comes to the conclusion that it would take 8,000 years for the Brood hives to be viable for toppling rival empires like the Skrull, Badoon, Galador, Shi’ar and Cotati. He goes on to state the Brood will likely be most successful against the Shi’ar so he approves the King Egg’s development and implementation. The Black Judges thank the Supreme Intelligence for his approval.
In the present, in Shi’ar Space the X-Men are being chased by a group of Acanti. As the Acanti are about to catch the X-Men Havok notices that a bunch of Broods are coming out of the Acanti.
Elsewhere, on a Kree spaceship, an Accuser demands the Starjammers, who he has captured, hand over the King Egg. Sunspot comes up on a hologram and reveals he forgot the King Egg. Corsair is pissed at Sunspot’s light-hearted attitude. Sunspot says he was joking and that the King Egg is actually heavy towards their direction.
Suddenly there is a loud noise in the ship. Cannonball comes on the hologram and Sunspot reveals that Smasher (Cannonball’s wife) tracked the Accuser down and sent help.
Gladiator and the Imperial Guard bust in after taking out several Kree guards. Gladiator reminds the Accuser he nor the Kree can pass any judgement in Shi’ar space. Accuser states that all will be judged. Hearing this, Kid Gladiator tells his dad he will forgive Gladiator for beating up the Accuser.
Gladiator and Accuser charge at each other. Gladiator easily overpowers the Accuser and sends him flying out of the spaceship right towards were the X-Men’s ship is being attacked by the Brood.
The X-Men attempt to flee is in vain and part of their ship is destroyed by an Acanti and the Brood.
Havok contacts the ship in front of them and is surprised to find out his dad, the Starjammers and Imperial Guard are on board. Corsair asks his son if he has the King Egg on him. Havok says they do. Gladiator asks if the X-Men plan to land on the planet nearby.Cyclops says that is not likely.
The Acanti then attack the ship the Starjammers and Imperial Guard are in. With both ships damaged, the X-Men, Starjammers, and Imperial Guard are sent plummeting into the Brood planet nearby.
Down on the planet surface the X-Men, Starjammers, and Imperial Guard are all able to recover without major injuries. Jean Grey detects the Brood hive nearby and everyone rushes into it.
As they do that Cyclops asks Jean what she senses. Jean all she senses is thoughts of madness driven by fear of the Brood queens of each hive. She goes on to talk about how the Brood seek power and are willing to die to feed their appetite. Jean then talks about how sensing a threat to their power has caused all the queens to be willing to sacrifice everything to hold on to their power.
While Jean goes over all of this the X-Men, Starjammers, and Imperial Guard fight their way through all of the Brood hives attacking them. As they are all overwhelmed by the Broods immense numbers the Brood stop attack the teams.
The X-Men, Starjammers, and Imperial Guard are all surprised the Brood would stop attack so suddenly when they were on the ropes. They are all left stunned when they all see that Broo has consumed the King Egg. Because he consumed the King Egg Broo now stands as the Brood King. End of issue.
The Good: Jonathan Hickman has yet to fail to impress with work on the X-Men franchise and X-Men #9 continued that strong track record. What works so well with X-Men #9 is that Hickman never loses you as a reader, even as he is tackling plot threads from the New Mutant series he is not writing. Hickman provides all the details the reader needs to know so this issue is fulfilling whether they are only reading multiple X-books or just the X-Men.
The opening of X-Men #9 plays into what Hickman does so well with all his work. Opening the issue with a flashback from 8,000 years ago involving the Supreme Intelligence, an Accuser, and the Black Judges provides you with the full context at what is at stake in the present. With the information that is provided in this flashback scene Hickman welcomes the reader into what the reader should be interested in.
This opening is a strong reminder how the Kree work to make sure they always have the advantage over every other empire in the galaxy. Even if those plans take thousands of years to come to fruition the Supreme Intelligence is willing to be patient if something like the King Egg is seen as viable. It’s all to stay a step ahead and prepare for the future no matter what happens. Highlighting this reminds the reader why the Kree are such a force to be reckoned with throughout the Marvel Universe no matter their current status quo.
Hickman also does a very good job expanding on concepts like the King Egg and how the Brood hierarchical system works through the informational pages he includes in X-Men #9. This is a great way to establish why the King Egg was such an important item. It also gives new readers a chance to understand how the Brood as a society worked with its various queens and hives. Not only that but it gives the reader a reason to read the recap page that precedes the present day story as Hickman and his editors, Jordan White and Annalise Bissa, give the necessary background to be caught up with the X-Men’s current mission.
From there Hickman creates a great sense of urgency in the mission the X-Men are on with a thrilling space chase. The visual of the X-Men being chased through Shi’ar space by some Acanti was visually striking. Hickman allows Leinil Francis Yu to tell the story of how much urgency the X-Men have by keeping the dialogue to a minimum. The X-Men’s only concern is getting the King Egg to where they need to and only talking when they have too.
This made the moment when the Brood were spewing out of the Acanti a much more powerful moment. You knew as soon as Havok pointed this out the X-Men were out of luck. It wasn’t a matter if they could escape the Acanti chasing them but how long they could stay ahead before their ship suffered major damage. In doing so Hickman creates genuine concern for this X-Men team and if they will be successful in their mission with the King Egg.
At the same time, Hickman adds to the sense of urgency in the story of X-Men #9 with the Accuser’s scene with the Starjammers. Hickman made sure to show how this Accuser was not messing around with how aggressive he was with his questioning of the Starjammers. That made how Sunspot was trying to lighten up the mood a strong bit of comedy in the middle of an otherwise serious issue.
It worked especially well with how Corsair bought into Sunspots light hearted attempt to show that it was actually all a form of buying time for the Shi’ar Imperial Guard to make their grand appearance. Again, it shows that every piece of dialogue that Hickman writes has a purpose within the story.
Hickman did a great job with how as soon as Gladiator and the Imperial Guard showed up that the Accuser was completely out matched. The sense of authority the Imperial Guard have just oozed out of their presence on screen. And while the scene was over quick Hickman gave us a great bit of dialogue when Kid Gladiator told his dad he can break his promise for quality to time to kick the Accuser’s ass. That little bit of dialogue is all you need to know that Gladiator was going to completely crush the Accuser.
From there Hickman just keeps the momentum going by having the X-Men, Starjammers, and Imperial Guard working together to fight off the various Brood hives. Hickman perfectly captures how terrifying the Brood are. Even with all the powers and skills that the X-Men, Starjammers, and Imperial Guard had, it was tough to fight off the massive numbers of the Brood.
Adding in what Jean Grey was able to detect from the Brood with his psychic abilities added to the tension felt during this battle. It was a rare chance to get inside the Broods’ minds that added to how scary they all are. It gave a good sense of the hunger and desperation the queens had to gain the King Egg.
With the focus on how everyone can make it out of this alive at the forefront Hickman was able to deliver a twist ending with Broo eating the serum in the King Egg that was actually surprising. I was so busy with seeing the X-Men, Starjammers, and Imperial Guard fighting the Brood and Jean’s dialogue that I completely forgot about the King Egg and the fact Broo was with them. With Broo now being the King of the Brood, Hickman now opens the door for new ways to explore the Broods place in the Marvel Universe. There is now no telling what role the Brood will play with Broo as their new King. That sense of excitement for what comes next is not something I’ve ever had for the Brood.
As mentioned a few times already, Leinil Francis Yu’s artwork was fantastic throughout X-Men #9. With several instances of pure silence Yu’s artwork was able to tell the story of how urgent the X-Men’s mission was. The urgent tone in all the characters’ voices was elevated by how Yu drew everyone involved in this issue.
With all that said, it was Yu’s artwork for the Brood that really stood out. Yu absolutely nailed how terrifying the Brood are. As we get closer to the end of X-Men #9 there is a sense of claustrophobia felt as the Brood were all around the X-Men, Starjammers, and Imperial Guard. That played in well with how sudden everything stopped thanks to Broo eating the contents of the King Egg.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Jonathan Hickman knocks it out of the park once again with his work in X-Men #9. Hickman gives us a thrilling adventure involving the X-Men, Starjammers, Shi’ar, and Kree that has large ramifications for the Marvel Universe, specifically with the Brood standing. Add in some of Leinil Francis Yu best artwork to date and you have an issue in X-Men #9 that should not be missed.
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