Published on September 11th, 2023 | by Howard Smith
X-Men #26 REVIEW
Forced to take an alternative route, the X-Men, Tony Stark, and Kingpin put on a ruse that appears to keep Orchis forces from catching onto their plan of action. In X-Men #26, Kingpin supports the X-Men financially as the new Hellfire Club’s head honcho, White King. Orchis has made an enemy out of Kingpin. Under the guise of Black King, Tony Stark plays his usual billionaire playboy philanthropy to upkeep his image as he entertains guests alike. Meanwhile, his plan to build a suit unlike any before under the nose of his oppressors is underway to win the war. Kamala finds that even those without mutant abilities who are seen differently are getting negative backlash. Shadowcat pays Firestar a visit to a space station called The Bloom. A battle ensues, but it ends with a truth told and a mentor’s advice on surviving undercover for the new X-Man member.
In this issue of X-Men #26, Gerry Duggan (Savage Sword of Conan, X-Force, Simpsons Comics) has unpacked a lot of what’s happening within the timeline of the X-Men. As it starts, the comic book begins from the perspective of Kingpin and what happened at the Gala. It takes a shift to the present day afterward, which leads readers to believe that despite time passing by several weeks the X-Men are far from giving up on what Orchis had done. Duggan reminds us that the only way to win a war like this requires stealth and patience. Without those two concepts in play, the X-Men would never stand a chance of survival. Duggan writes this comic book in a way that succinctly flows smoothly without unnecessary story elements. Each perspective shift adds to the overall arc of the story. The most interactive part of the comic book happened between Shadowcat and Firestar’s confrontation on the space station. This was a build-up from X-Men #25 that played out perfectly. Additionally, Duggan sets up a small event that happens by the sheer luck of not being exposed to the enemy that involves Tony and Emma in marriage. All good fun around this comic book.
Regarding that good fun, Jim Towe (Bloodshot) and Javier Pina (Secret Six) illustrate an amazing plethora of art that complements the writing. The interior work of both artists suffices with rich artistic style and attention to detail. The characters are handsomely easy on the eyes and the scenery plays a qualitative impressiveness. The amount of work produced by both Pina and Towe indicates that they enjoyed their work as much as readers will come to read it in publication. X-Men #26 doesn’t fall short of artistic value as it elevates the story to a point where the art becomes the most enjoyed aspect of the comic book. Despite the writing by Duggan, the artwork brings forth the world readers will see on the pages. Due to the artists putting the discipline to work, the result within this comic book demonstrates that passion for X-Men comics.
Comparatively, Marte Gracia (Empress, FF, Death to the Inhumans) performs stunning coloring work on this comic book. The use and array of colors displaced throughout X-Men #26 are refreshingly good to observe and take in. As the duty of the writer and artist is to visually bring a story to life within the pages, the color artist’s purpose is just as important as the creation of the story. The coloring work Gracia showcases poise within every panel including the characters themselves. The lettering by Clayton Cowles (All-New Inhumans, Aquaman) was great as usual. Cowles did well with the positioning and placement of the lettering which avoids obstructing the view of the action and scenes.
Although not the focus of the story, Lucas Werneck’s (Harley Quinn) cover art for this comic book is astounding. The interesting view of Werneck’s cover art is how well the characters are drawn with expert presentation.
Certain details about how the X-Men will get back at Orchis in X-Men #26 are slowly, but surely coming into fruition. While readers are introduced to various points in key characters, the climax to what seems to be leading to just may be a battle unlike we’ve seen before. For now, the best thing to do is to keep reading until the reveal of a secret warfare the X-Men and one Avenger have been up to. In the meantime, be sure to pick this issue up from your local comic book store or online where copies are sold.
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artists: Jim Towe, Javier Pina
Color Artist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Lucas Werneck
Editor: Jordan D. White
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment