X-Men Red, Team Rollcall:
Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Trinary, Wolverine, and Honey Badger!
To Recap, Jean Grey is back. Not a clone, time-traveler, or life model decoy. The Phoenix Force brought Jean Grey back to life, to use as the ultimate host (the physical vessel for its awesomeness). Jean Grey then talked the Phoenix Force (the cosmic embodiment of destruction and new life) into not merging with her (‘cause they have a toxic relationship). The Phoenix Force vanished without her, and left an uneaten Jean Grey in the trash (like a bagel).
More Recent Recapping
In X-Men Red #1 & 2, Jean has a new team (X-Men Red!). But first, flashback to two months earlier… Jean Grey is tired of running. From extremists, governments, and especially cable news. She goes before the United Nations to declare a new “Mutant Nation.” Namor and the Black Panther throw in their support. Everything’s looking golden. The ambassador for the United Kingdom seems friendly, even… then, Jean gets framed for murdering her.
Team Red goes into political exile in Wakanda. Then they get a distress call from India. A technopath mutant activist is going to be grabbed (maybe killed, maybe worse). The only ones who can save her are X-Men Red! The mission goes smoothly. Of course it does, they have a mind-reader, a teleporter, and two Wolverine clones! Then someone overreacts and brings in a Sentinel (good old fashioned giant robot). Oh, and Cassandra Nova is behind everything (Professors X’s evil twin sister. So evil, she had to be defeated in the womb).
Now for the Review (Spoilers kept to a minimum)
X-Men Red #3 starts with a quiet night in the X-Mansion. It’s is disturbed by an unseen intruder, Cassandra Nova. What evil deed is she going to commit to continue her evil plan?
Back to the action in India. Team Red battles a Sentinel. A classic X-Men fight, hitting all the classic beats. Someone almost dies, Wolverine gets launched, and the new member (Trinary) gets a bad-ass moment. Jump to Louisiana and the cameo everyone saw coming, Gambit (He’s the only one on the cover!). He’s there to break an ugly anti-mutant protest. But it goes bad. Shocking. Back to Wakanda, Team Red is heading back to Wakanda. But it goes bad. Shocking.
Writer Tom Taylor takes the X-Men formula and throws in some fresh new moves. Honey Badger brings entertainment on every page she’s on. Jean is the new Cyclops (not literally), staying calm and giving orders during the heat of battle. Technopath Trinary brings an update to the team and the X-Men in general. She notices an outside force is using social media (and good old mind-control) to increase the hate for mutants (Pulled from the headlines!). I really want more from Nightcrawler in future issues.
Artist Mahmud Asrar brings an energetic style that is great in the big fights, but also really expressive in the small moments. The nuanced faces make Cassandra Nova extra evil. Color artist Ive Svorcina keeps it simple during the big fights, not drawing attention away from the characters. And then shows off during the quieter moments, when you can take time to look around. Cory Petit’s lettering is the nice cherry on top, creatively using effects without detracting from the art (there are a lot of O’s). This is a creative team that I would like to see more from.
The Wrap Up
X-Men Red #3 continues the fun X-Men action. Tom Taylor’s storyline shows the dark aspects of humanity that X-men is known for, while also giving enough light moments to keep it entertaining. These small fights are a great lead up to the “final battle” with Cassandra Nova we know is coming. It’s all part of a bigger whole. And hopefully the pay-off will make it (and the earlier issues) an epic story to remember.
X-Men Red #3
3 out of 5 Red X’s