It took some time but X-Men: Red has started to find its groove as the team has been fully formed. What has helped X-Men: Red improve is how Tom Taylor has handled elevating Cassandra Nova as one of the top X-Men bad guys. This is something that the X-Men needed more than anything since without Magneto or Apocalypse their has been a big villain hole for the franchise. As this story has developed Cassandra Nova has started to fill that hole. For X-Men: Red to continue to be successful Tom Taylor will need to continue to build Cassandra Nova and other characters as the story progress. Let’s see if that happens with X-Men: Red #7.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Carmen Carnero
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At Searebro Storm and Gentle ask Jean Grey what is wrong. With no time to explain Jean takes herself, Storm and Gentle out of Searebro. As she does that Jean contacts Namor to inform him that Cassandra Nova is attacking Atlantis.
Over at Atlantis Abomination has already started attacking the city. Namor works to stop Abomination.
Above the Atlantic Ocean the X-Men work to find the British Ambassador’s phone inside a private jet. The British Ambassador senses mutants are in the cargo hold and fires a gun down below.
Trinary gets hit with a bullet and this causes her to lose her connection to the Sentinel flying above them. The Sentinel ends up crashing on top of the private jet.
Back at Atlantis Namor tries to save his people from getting crushed by a collapsing building. Abomination suddenly attacks Namor, forcing him to let go of the building he was holding up.
Jean shows up and uses her powers to keep the building from falling, giving the Atlantis people time to swim away from the battle.
Gentle helps Namor and starts fighting Abomination on his own. This gives Namor the chance to help evacuate his people.
Gentle eventually gets the upper hand on Abomination and punches him hard enough to send him flying out of the ocean. In the sky Storm strikes Abomination with a lightning bolt.
With Trinary suffering from her bullet wound and the plane about to hit an island Gambit tells Nightcrawler and Wolverine (Laura Kinney) to stop the guy firing the gun.
Nightcrawler teleports them to the main cabin. Wolverine immediately slices the gun the British Ambassador was using.
The rest of the X-Men are able to get to Trinary and quickly heal her wound. Trinary then regains control of the Sentinel and saves the plane from crashing.
Later, at the Heathrow Airport in London the British Ambassador wants to know exactly what is going on. The X-Men explain that someone (Cassandra Nova) was controlling his mind through his phone and she is the same person that killed the previous British Ambassador. The British Ambassador wants to know who this person controlling him is.
A little later Jean, with Trinary’s help, sends a broadcast to every TV and phone. She informs the public about who Cassandra Nova is and how she was responsible for the death of the previous British Ambassador and the attack on Atlantis. Jean goes on to say that Cassandra Nova wants to make manipulate humanity’s view so they can cause the extermination of mutants.
Jean says that those that feel hatred for mutants should consider that they are being manipulated by Cassandra Nova. She goes on to say even if there are people who can’t stop hating mutants that the X-Men will defend everyone. End of issue.
The Good: X-Men: Red #7 provides a fun, action filled close to this chapter of the greater Cassandra Nova story Tom Taylor is telling in this series. This issue in particular showed how the the X-Men that Jean Grey has recruited has already become a good team. The teamwork in various scenarios helped elevate what turned out to be an action heavy issue with some solid character development sprinkled in.
The pacing of X-Men: Red #7 was by far the strongest point of the story in this issue. Taylor made sure there was never a slow moment. Each scene had a sense of purpose as the X-Men had to deal with two different scenarios that tested them differently. The shifts between the two different X-Men squads was well executed. Taylor never made it feel like we were switching between the two without warning. This led to a stronger sense of tension for the X-Men to save the day as both events felt like they were going on at the exact same time.
The opening page of this issue in particular set the tone of X-Men: Red #7. Rather than have Jean Grey explain what was going on, Taylor had Jean act immediately and explain what was going on to Storm and Gentle on the way. This created a sense of urgency in the X-Men going to stop Abomination. It also showed Jean as a strong leader as she was able to shift her focus from her mental meeting with Cassandra Nova to saving Atlantis. This quick thinking as she put Gentle and Storm in place to quickly take down Abomination was impressive.
The unexpected battle with Abomination was a great way to show Jean as a strong field leader. Up until now Jean has been more of a leader that was looking to solve things by talking. The switch to Jean having to quickly come up with a battle strategy showed that she can successfully led the X-Men during a fight. That is something that is just as important as Jean being able to inspire with her words as she was able to use Namor, Gentle and Storm in roles that maximized their abilities.
This show in being able to be a good battle strategist made Jean’s final speech more meaningful. Now when she tells the public that the X-Men will defend everyone, whether they be human, mutant or alien, a stronger statement because we saw the X-Men do just that for the Atlanteans and people on the private jet. This was a shift that was needed as Jean trying to create a Utopia for mutants felt like a rehash of what Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm and Kitty Pryde have been trying to do the last decade. Now with Jean adding to the X-Men’s that they will defend everyone it will help her greater vision to have mutants accepted into society as the X-Men grow a reputation as a superhero team once again.
At the same time, Taylor is also establishes the fact that Jean and the X-Men still have a long way to go with their mission statement. There is still, and likely will always be, a distrust of mutants because of how dangerous they are. But at the very least the X-Men under Jean’s leadership can begin making strides to change people’s outlook on mutants to be more positive members of society.
This continued hatred for mutants also elevated Cassandra Nova’s personal mission to tap into that fact in order to cause the extermination of mutants. Tapping into one’s fears and anger is a power move by Cassandra as they are emotions that are easily brought out of people. And with how quickly Cassandra was able to create so much opposition for the X-Men, Taylor makes her come out looking like one of the more dangerous villains for the team until she is fully stopped. Having that dangerous villain is something that has been missing from the X-Men and is refreshing to see Cassandra fully embrace and relish in that fact.
And with Cassandra Nova still at large Taylor did a good job using Abomination as a secondary villain that the X-Men can take down. Abomination, when used appropriately, is a great threat for any superhero or team to defeat in an issue. That is exactly what Taylor does as he uses Abomination to show how effectively the X-Men can fight as a team without much preparation. That showing makes the X-Men feel like a real team rather than just a mash-up of different solo heroes.
Carmen Carnero delivered solid artwork throughout X-Men: Red #7. With how much was going on from an action and set piece standpoint Carnero had plenty of material to do different things. From having a building fall underwater forcing the Atlanteans to swim to safety to the X-Men team-up move to knock Abomination out, Carnero nailed the action in Atlantis. She also was able to make it look like the plane the X-Men were in was close to falling as they struggled to move inside.
The Bad: Though it was good to see that Cassandra Nova is going stick around as a long-term threat this story arc has started to feel long. And with how X-Men: Red #7 ended it felt like we were going to continue the Cassandra Nova story in the next few issues. That is not something that is needed as Taylor is getting close to overexposing Cassandra Nova as a villain. There needs to be a break to establish other threats to the X-Men Red’s mission statement to feel greater. Without other antagonist it will look like Jean’s team is running around in circles.
Overall: X-Men: Red #7`is the strongest issue to date for this young series. Tom Taylor showed how effective this X-Men team is with how they took out Abomination and saved a plane that was about to crash at the same time. The action created a sense of urgency in the X-Men having to save the day. With how things ended Taylor has set up plenty of story possibilities for X-Men: Red as Jean Grey’s team continues to fight an uphill battle to get mutants accepted by the entire world.