Marvel’s X-Men line is about to go through another rehaul with Uncanny X-Men returning as a weekly series in November, but hopefully the end of this recent color-coded phase doesn’t mean the end of Tom Taylor, Carmen Carnero, and Rain Beredo’s X-Men Red. The solicitation for December’s issue #11 reads a lot like a finale teaser, which would be a shame because this creative team has built a compelling ensemble and concept that could support years of stories.
The biggest revelation of X-Men Red is its interpretation of Jean Grey, a fierce leader who has been through so much that she no longer has time for anyone’s bullshit. For too long, Jean Grey has been defined by the craziness of her history, with its cycle of cosmic possessions, deaths, and resurrections. In the pages of X-Men Red, Jean is defined by her confidence, empathy, and strength, all of which have been tested by Cassandra Nova, the villainous twin sister of Jean’s old mentor, Charles Xavier.
This exclusive preview of next week’s X-Men Red #8 has both Jean and Cassandra intensifying their efforts against their opponents, and as the stakes steadily rise, Taylor makes sure to include moments of humor that energize the story and keep it fun. The second page of this excerpt ends a moment of pointed political commentary on a hilarious note as a news anchor finally lets her bigoted coworker hear exactly what she thinks of him, making great use of the single page to engage in some comic-strip-style storytelling.
Carnero is an exceptional replacement for original series artist Mahmud Asrar thanks to the similarities in their two styles, and Beredo further maintains that consistency with his clean coloring. Carnero captures all the complexity of Taylor’s characterizations in her artwork, and she brings plenty of swagger to the page in those moments when the team jumps into action, letting the world know that bigotry and hatred will be met with forceful opposition.