X-Men: Red has quickly positioned itself as the best current series in the X-Men franchise. Al Ewing has done an excellent job making all the politics going on in the early life of Planet Arakko fascinating. In the previous issue of X-Men: Red we saw Magneto claim the Seat of Loss after killing Tarn The Uncaring in a quick battle for the seat on The Great Ring Of Arakko. Now with Magneto gaining a powerful position on Arakko what is next for this series? Let’s find out with X-Men: Red #4
Writer: Al Ewing
Artists: Juann Cabal, Andres Genolet, and Michael Sta. Maria
Colorist: Federico Blee
The Great Ring Of Arakko meets for the first time since Magneto gained the Seat of Loss. After a lot of tension early on in the meeting with Isca The Unbeaten, Magneto presents the council with a Cerebro Drive that Forge created and immediately destroys.
Magneto reveals that the Cerebro Drive actually contained his and Storm’s backups for the resurrection protocol. Magneto then mentions what Storm told him “To Everything A Season.” Magneto admits to fearing Winter but not a life that ends.
Meanwhile, on The Proscenium, the Shi’ar Empire call an emergency meeting of the Galactic Council. Right before the meeting Storm and Black Panther share a tense moment after T’Challa mentions the Daily Bugle story about Krakoa’s Resurrection Protocol, which brings up the secrets they keep from each other.
At the meeting, Oracle reveals to the rest of the Galactic Council that Empress Xandra Neramani is dead and she fears this will cause a major war as those seeking power look to claim the Shi’ar Empire throne.
Black Panther suggests they could bring Xandra back using Krakoa’s Resurrection Protocol since she is technically a mutant. Orbis Stellaris is vehemently against this, believing they shouldn’t open the door to an immortal dictator to rule and the Shi’ar should live with their fate. Storm reveals that this is all too late since Xavier has already started the process to bring Xandra back to life using Krakoa’s Resurrection Protocol.
After the meeting, Nova (Richard Rider) asks Storm if he can visit Arakko as he feels like something big is coming. Storm happily accepts Nova as a visitor to Arakko.
Back on Earth, after being resurrected Sunspot talks with Rockslide, who is still having a hard time with his new life as he knows that people call him Wrongslide because of how has acted since being brought back to life. While talking about Santo Vaccarro saw life even with the Five’s abilities.
Wrongslide reveals that they wish to die in Otherworld so that the Five can bring back someone new. Sunspot then invites Wrongslide to Arakko. End of issue.
The strong forward momentum continues with X-Men: Red #4. Al Ewing has a vision for what this series is all about and isn’t stopping moving forward with that vision. That is showcased throughout the three simultaneous stories we have going on in X-Men: Red #4.
With the first meeting Magneto attends as a member of The Great Ring Of Arakko we are shown how invested both he and Storm are. In the previous three issues, Ewing has developed Storm and Magneto’s relationship to be equals in the new Brotherhood they have formed. To make sure what both Storm and Magneto want to do to make Arakko a vibrant and strong planet they have to be on the same page or else this won’t work for them. That is the message we see pushed as everything Magneto does and says during the meeting with the rest of The Great Ring Of Arakko are the same thoughts Storm had.
The big development here is that we see Magneto, and by extension, making it clear that they are citizens of Arakko by destroying both of their Cerebro back-ups. In doing so they will no longer live knowing they can be brought back to life. Taking that away shows how invested Storm and Magneto are with what they want to do on Arakko. This also helped to strengthen Magneto’s own position on The Great Ring Of Arakko as we saw how other members like Isca The Unbeaten laughed at almost everything he said. Now that he has shown his conviction for Arakko’s future there are a lot interesting ways Ewing can take what Magneto and Storm’s dynamic with the rest of The Great Ring Of Arakko can be.
Adding to this is Storm’s own position as not only the Regent of Arako but also the spokesperson for the entire Sol system. This puts Storm in a completely different position from Magneto as her voice represents the entire Sol system at all times. Which makes the actions she takes have a much higher level of importance.
That position becomes even more complicated how it has now become public knowledge that Krakoa has a resurrection protocol in place thanks to the Daily Bugle article. Ewing does an excellent job of showing how Storm does not lose her cool whatsoever after this development in X-Men #12. Storm keeps a level head at all times, even when Orbis Stellaris makes a strong case for why they shouldn’t use Krakoa’s resurrection protocol to bring back Empress Xandra Neramani. It all works as a strong showcase for why Storm is able to keep her cool while making a big statement in a room with the most influential characters in the Marvel Universe.
This development also works to set up why we will see the X-Men forced to defend themselves against the Eternals and Celestials in the upcoming A.X.E.: Judgement Day event. Because by bringing back his daughter Charles Xavier has made it known to the entire Marvel Universe what Krakoa is capable of. Adding this to the story in the Daily Bugle takes the revelation about Krakoa’s resurrection protocols to a cosmic level. It wouldn’t be surprising if even after Judgement Day we see the different X-Men teams and Krakoa as a whole have to deal with other galactic powers in the future. This could make Richard Rider’s position as a possible ally to at least Arakko something to keep an eye on with how this relationship develops.
Wrapping up X-Men: Red #4 with Bobby da Costa talking with Santo Vaccarro was a good change of pace that brought a spotlight on the resurrection protocol’s impact on those brought back by it. We haven’t really seen this version of Santo since the X of Swords event. Following up on Santo’s revival after dying shows how death on Otherworld is truly different. You can’t help but feel for this version of Santo who doesn’t even go by Rockslide and instead goes by Wrongslide because of how he knows others’ view and call him by that name.
Bobby understanding how tough it has been for this version of Santo, especially after they mention wanting to die on Otherworld so that a new life/version of himself can be born, was great character work. Even as Bobby is addressing Santo as Wrongslide he is not doing it in a malicious way. Ewing captures the tone of how Bobby is using Wrongslide in a way to further open up to his friend. It all made Bobby inviting Santo to Arakko have a deeper meaning as it could help this version of Santo to reclaim his own identity after all that he has been through.
The artwork in X-Men: Red #4 is a mixed bag. Individually Juann Cabal, Andres Genolet, and Michael Sta. Maria’s art styles are all good but they just don’t match with each other. This isn’t new as it’s something that happens all the time when multiple artists work on the same story together. Their styles have enough differences that it does disrupt the flow of the story when we are shifting between the three different stories going on in X-Men: Red #4. That said, each artist does well in capturing the strong character moments that Storm, Magneto, Sunspot, Rockslide/Wrongslide, and Charles Xavier have in this issue.
Al Ewing continues to work his magic with all the great character that is done in X-Men: Red #4. There are so many great character moments from Storm, Magneto, Sunspot, and other characters that X-Men fans should not miss out on the experience. This is a must-read series for all X-Men fans.
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