Things were already intense on Arakko with Genesis leading the Horsemen of Apocalypse in a war against Storm’s X-Men team. Now things look to be escalating with the return of nonother than En Sabah Nur, Apocalypse, himself entering the battlefield. Anytime Apocalypse appears it’s a big deal. It’s an even bigger deal now as he has been away for quite a while now. Since his last big appearance the landscape of the X-Men franchise has shifted with the Fall of X direction. How will Apocalypse fit into things? Let’s find out with X-Men: Red #17.
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Yildiray Cinar
Colorist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Ariana Maher
“APOCALYPSE NOW! When Genesis returned to Arakko, she brought war in her wake. What will her husband bring with him? This issue—Apocalypse returns! Storm holds the ultimate weapon in her grip —but in the face of En Sabah Nur, even that may not be enough…” – Marvel Comics
X-Men: Red #17 is a lot of set-up for what comes next in this series. But while that is true it does not take away from how big everything feels. All of the set-up for Apocalypse big return and the final battle with Genesis being set keeps up the quality expected from this series.
With all of the set-up what Al Ewing makes sure to always keep at the top of the reader’s mind is the epic scope of what is going on in Arakko. There is so much at stake that every decision made with all the characters involved is important. Nova taking the deadly hit for Storm takes away a powerful ally for our heroes. Ironfire trying to unleash Uranos places Storm in a difficult spot. These and other actions make it so every character on Arakko has importance to the plot.
Because of this Storm as the leader of the resistance is further spotlighted as the leader needed right now. Storm once again shows this with the decisive decision she makes in destroying Uranos’ prison cube and eliminating him from the equation. It was down with such quick force that you see how committed Storm is to make sure even in a war setting she nor her allies make reckless decisions.
In this case Ironfire is the example of why Storm had to make this decision. Ironfire is stuck in the heat of the moment with the war with Genesis. Due to that he doesn’t see the long-term ramifications of letting Uranos out. His outburst further confirmed Storm’s decision being the right one.
Storm’s actions play well into making Apocalypse return having the biggest impact possible. The opening of X-Men: Red #17 established how Apocalypse is taking a different approach. He isn’t looking to do the same old shtick of having his normal Horseman. If he is going to be returning and fighting Genesis he wants to represent something else. By extension, his new Horsemen are going to reflect his change in mentality.
Showing this change by having Apocalypse turn Gabriel Summer into his Avatar of Fire a great tone setter. Evolving the idea of Horsemen to Avatars was a good way to separate Apocalypse and Genesis way of doing things. It also gives Apocalypse new method to have a greater power.
Which brings things back to Storm and what Apocalypse sees her as representing. Apocalypse’s Avatars aren’t just representing an element. They represent a reflection of who he chooses as an Avatar. For Gabriel Summers that was fire not just because of his powers but also his personality. With Storm she doesn’t represent one element like air. Storm is magic itself. This is a great way to play into Storm’s being known as a Goddess to many.
Making Apocalypse return even more impactful is that it did not take away from Storm as the lead character. Ewing has clearly built the final battle of this story arc to be Storm vs Genesis. They’ve been the head of the table when it comes to this conflict between the two warring sides. Apocalypse’s presence does not change that, though he can alter things so Storm and Genesis have an even final fight.
All the success in the story wouldn’t have worked without Yildiray Cinar strong artwork. Cinar absolutely delivers on making major moments have an epic look to them. The best example of this is Apocalypse providing Storm with her power upgrade. Similar, strong moments are Storm destroying Uranus’ prison cube and the epic final page of X-Men: Red #17.
X-Men: Red #17 does a lot to set elevate the players involved in the war that has consumed Arakko. During this set-up we get a lot of incredible scenes involving Storm and Apocalypse. By the time this issue is done the hype for what comes next in the Genesis War is at an all-time high.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10