Beware, spoilers for X-MEN BLUE #8 ahead!
X-MEN BLUE has been a wild success. With beautiful artwork and compelling characters, the series is a refreshing take on the classic superhero squad. Up until the seventh issue, the series had taken its time in building the narrative up into its central conflict. With this, issue #7 brought on a darker tone that continues into X-MEN BLUE #8, for the younger version of the X-Men are facing off against an enemy they have never dealt with before. They are attempting to invert an ideology of HYDRA that has become deeply rooted in society. Unfortunately, they are struggling to succeed.
A Dismal Utopia
Previously in X-MEN BLUE, our young X-Men were ambushed by a group of adversaries led by Havok. Beast, Angel, Iceman, and Cyclops were taken hostage while Jean Grey and Jimmy Hudson were left for dead. Luckily, we discover in X-MEN BLUE #8 that Jean and Jimmy survive the attack. They devise a plan to rescue their teammates, despite the odds. As they infiltrate the facility their teammates are being held in, a battle ensues. Unexpectedly, a personification of the Danger Room assists Jean and Jimmy by projecting illusions of the original X-Men squad. It is an epic moment, for both the narrative and the artwork. Once Jean and Jimmy escape the battleground, they find themselves facing off against Havok; but the moment is interrupted when Polaris makes her grand entrance.
The cliffhanger ending that features Polaris’ entrance is certainly a highlight of the issue. It will be interesting to see her dynamic with Havok in future issues, considering their past romantic history. Additionally, the dynamic between Jean and Jimmy is particularly enjoyable. Because they have no choice but to work together, they inevitably learn more about each other. Jimmy seeks independence from his predecessor, Wolverine. As such, he is not so inclined to kill in a battle. Though the two exhibit moments of sincerity, their relationship also features moments of light-heartedness. With this, X-MEN BLUE #8 is slightly lighter in tone than the previous issue.
The Many Hues of X-MEN BLUE #8
The artwork of X-MEN BLUE has been a standout, and the eighth issue may exemplify the series’ best work. Colorist Matt Milla utilizes a vibrant palette that showcases the detail in the backgrounds and characters. Once again, the light tones that have been prominent throughout the series emphasize a lively energy that is exemplified through the youthful characters. The collaboration between Cory Smith and Joey Vazquez is fantastic. Their depiction of classic X-Men characters, shown in the panels below, is quite astonishing. I love the way they capture the nostalgia of the classic X-Men squad and balance it with depictions of the younger X-Men.
Going off of this, it is interesting to note the parallels between Jimmy Hudson and the original Wolverine. Despite Jimmy’s desire to disassociate himself from his predecessor, the original Wolverine is still an influence on him. The artists take note of this influence in the details of the pair’s costumes. They are strikingly similar, though Jimmy does not don a mask. This subtle aspect may perhaps be a way to depict Jimmy’s humanity as well as his fear of straying from it.
Onward to X-MEN BLUE #9
X-MEN BLUE #8 may slow the pacing in regards to narrative development, but its character-centric story makes for a worthy read. The members of the young X-MEN team, particularly Jean Grey and Jimmy Hudson in this issue, are engaging. We have witnessed the growth of these characters throughout the series, for they are truly growing into maturity. In future issues, I hope to see more from Iceman, Beast, and Angel, characters who have taken a step back from the foreground in the past few entries in the series. Ultimately, the eighth issue of the entertaining and impactful X-MEN BLUE series may arguably be the most enjoyable.