Beware, potential spoilers for X-MEN BLUE #7 below!
The latest entry of X-MEN BLUE is the most distinct of the series. It directly alludes to Captain America’s status as a HYDRA agent and the young X-Men’s efforts to counter the consequences of his change in character. With this, Cullen Bunn shifts the series’ focus from the dynamic of our young X-Men team to the plans of mutant leaders such as Emma Frost and the adult Beast. This change brings out a more serious tone that is not present in previous issues. Because of this, our X-Men face entirely new challenges that they may not be prepared for.
This Week On X-MEN BLUE #7
Various mutant leaders have struck a deal with HYDRA officials to maintain mutant livelihood. On the surface, this sounds as though humans and mutants are going to live harmoniously together. Unfortunately, Jean Grey relays to the reader that mutants have been imprisoned against their will in the “utopian” nation of New Tian. So, the X-Men do what they do best. They decide to take matters into their own hands in order to free the innocent and oppressed. Unsurprisingly, this act puts a target on the team’s back. The mutant leaders that are working in accordance with HYDRA send some of their own to stop the X-Men who they perceive as mutant rebels.
Ultimately, our young X-Men, alongside Jimmy Hudson who is decked out in a pretty cool suit, end up facing off against some worthy opponents. Firestar, Toad, and an adult Archangel are among the challengers who get to showcase their dynamic abilities. Unexpectedly, Cyclops’ adult brother, Havok, makes an appearance and finishes the X-Men off. The issue ends in ambiguity, leaving us wondering what is to become of our beloved, imprisoned heroes.
Looking At the Worst Case Scenario
Though the first half of this issue feels a little slow, the climactic fight sequence makes up for it. I think Toad’s secondary mutation of a burning tongue is weirdly cool, albeit strange. Perhaps one of the more subtle yet poignant points of this work is when Jimmy rushes in front of Jean to block her from Havok’s blasts. Though Jimmy has only been involved with the X-Men for a short time, he feels a familial connection to the team as well as an obligation to sacrifice himself for them if need be. Unfortunately, this moment of heroism proves pointless. Havok and the rest of his team end up defeating the X-Men.
Building on this ending, I thoroughly enjoyed the darker tone of this issue. In regard to this series as a whole, it was only a matter of time before our young team faced a challenge that would require them to tap into maturity. The light-hearted tone thus far has been successful in showcasing the chemistry and vulnerabilities of the team. So, a shift in this tone gives the characters, and the series, a little more depth since the opponents in this issue heighten their vulnerabilities. These X-Men are working alone, against their own society and even former allies. So, it will be interesting to see what improvisations our team comes up with in the next issue.
A Fresh Look
Let me start off by saying that the cover artwork by Arthur Adams and Peter Steigerwald is phenomenal, particularly the Jean Grey cover that is this article’s featured image. I hope to continue seeing their contributions in future issues. The collaboration between colorist Matt Milla and Cory Smith exhibits a slightly darker tone that parallels the shift in characterization that is present in X-MEN BLUE #7. Yes, previous issues emphasize a vibrancy and abundance of color that continues into this issue. However, the battle sequence, particularly following Havok’s entrance, is notably darker in tone.
I really enjoyed the design of Jimmy’s revised Wolverine costume as well as Havok’s simple yet sleek costume design. Though some panels inconsistently feature less detail than others, I believe Cory Smith succeeds in his first full issue as the artist in the X-MEN BLUE series. Finally, Joe Caramagna’s lettering is certainly well-balanced, never obscuring the significant battle sequences. Overall, the collaboration of artwork is among the many positives of X-MEN BLUE #7.
Though this entry is the most distinct issue of the series thus far, it is a wildly entertaining one. With this, it still encompasses plenty of plot development that pushes the X-Men forward. The upcoming issues will ultimately be consequences of the events that take place in X-MEN BLUE #7. Our X-Men are challenged in new ways and must operate without a solid plan. The team behind the X-MEN BLUE series have established a worthy narrative, and I look forward to seeing how our young X-Men fare in the face of these new, intimidating challenges.