X-Men (2021 Series) #3 Review
A Review By Jesse Baker
X-Men (2021 Series) #3
Written by Gerry Duggan
Drawn by Pepe Larraz
Review By Jesse Baker
Gerry Duggan’s “X-Men” may have an officially set roster, but it suffers from the same issues Hickman’s brief 21 issue run on the main book had. No real importance, as everything important in the franchise has to take place in the spin-offs to make everyone buy them and not just ignore them for the main X-Men title. The third issue of the the new series attempts to give some gravitas to the festivities, with a fight between the X-Men and the High Evolutionary.
Created as a Thor villain and mainly remembered for the “Evolutionary War” crossover event in 1988, which ran through that year’s various annuals, High Evolutionary is one of those villains that would seem tailor made for the X-Men. But they’ve only had a rare handful of encounters, most recently being Uncanny Avengers V2 #1–5.
In that story we were introduced to Luminous, High Evolutionary’s latest “child” and henchman and saw him and underlings experiment on Rogue and her fellow Unity Squad members without consent or thought for their wellbeing. Here, we have High Evolutionary come to Vietnam for a meeting with the X-Men. He congratulates them on their terraforming of Mars, then asks if they want to help him genocide mankind via a virus bomb that will sterilize all non-mutants on the planet. Rogue, still angry at the ordeal she suffered in Uncanny Avengers, responds by punching High Evolutionary in the face. So we get a big fight as the X-Men try and destroy the virus bomb, before High Evolutionary can activate it himself (as High Evolutionary’s sales pitch includes him spewing environmentalist talking points about global warming and climate change as his motivation to send humanity to an early grave).
The fight spans the bulk of the issue, with special focus on Rogue vs High Evolutionary and his test tube daughter Lumina (who has the combined powers of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch) vs Polaris (Magneto’s biological daughter). Again, this is where colorist Marte Garcia’s dark color scheme harms the book, smothering artist Pepe Larraz’s artwork and giving it a texture similar to stale coffee.
In the end, we get a ceasefire from High Evolutionary though at a cost: High Evolutionary extras a drop of blood from Synch in exchange for an end of hostilities. However, before leaving, High Evolutionary reveals the identity of the carnivorous mushroom spouting from a dead astronaut’s corpse that has been bedeviling the X-Men in the last couple of issues (Cordycep Jones) and the location of his casino lair (Gameworld) where he is sending various alien lifeforms to try and kill the X-Men for the amusement of his alien clientele.
But as the “X-Men vs Aliens” storyline continues to move along at a glacial pace, other more interesting plotlines are relegated to the final three pages. ORCHIS member Henry Peter Gyrich recruits the super scientist from issue one, who’s plans for terraforming Mars were crushed by the X-Men doing it first to ORCHIS’s cause. While the final two pages show ORCHIS confronting newspaper writer Ben Ulrich with evidence of the the death of Cyclops in House of X/Power of X. Since the X-Men are hiding their ability to bring back their dead via cloning, Ulrich is confronted with whether or not to continue to champion the X-Men with his writing or expose their hiding their ability to cheat death to the world, fallout be damned.