- Gerry Duggan
- Joshua Cassara
- VC’s Clayton Cowles
- Cover Artist:
- Russell Dauterman, Matthew Wilson
- Release Date:
Marvel’s X-Men follows the flagship team of mutant superheroes from the island nation of Krakoa. Forge is currently on a search and rescue mission for Darwin, who was left inside the Vault long ago. The Vault, home to the Children of the Vault — a group of futuristic post-humans with plans of world domination — is a place where time runs at an accelerated rate. Forge’s mission becomes more complicated when he discovers that Laura Kinney, aka Wolverine, is also still alive in the Vault. Written by Gerry Duggan with art by Joshua Cassara, colors by GURU-eFX, letters by Clayton Cowles, and design by Tom Muller with Jay Bowen, X-Men #17 is a fascinating exploration of evolution.
Wolverine’s presence presents a significant dilemma for Forge. His mission is to extract Darwin, not Laura. Wolverine was a part of the original reconnaissance mission into the Vault with Darwin and Synch. Synch was the only member to make it out of the Vault alive, with Darwin presumed captured and Wolverine presumed dead. Because of this, Laura was then resurrected outside the Vault, meaning there are now two of her. While Forge grapples with how to move forward, he still has to worry about finding and saving Darwin, whose mutant ability to survive and adapt to anything has been taken to new extremes.
Duggan does an excellent job writing Forge’s morality in this issue. Forge is on a mission and is committed to staying on task, even if it means making the morally gray decision of leaving Laura behind. The drama in the issue comes from several key components: the dilemma of Laura, the threat the Children of the Vault pose, and the survival of Darwin. Duggan balances all three plot points effectively. Darwin is particularly fascinating in this issue, as his powers manifest in creative new ways. The resolution to Wolverine’s situation is handled with care and is sure to have major ramifications going forward.
Cassara’s art is phenomenal from cover to cover. During some sequences, the background details are dropped to create a sharp contrast and bring the action to the forefront. When panels do have fully rendered backgrounds, the results are stunning. The Vault and Krakoa both have unique visual impacts that contrast with each other in fascinating ways. Facial expressions are a particular highlight of the issue. Pain, relief, and contemplation are all clearly legible. Panel and page layouts are straightforward and effective to guide readers from scene to scene.
GURU-eFX’s colors are fantastic throughout. Krakoa and the Vault have opposite color palettes. The Vault is much cooler, with purple and blue hues taking charge, where everything outside the Vault is full of warmth and life. Cowles’ lettering is strong across the board. Dialogue from the Children of the Vault is presented with white text and a black word balloon, instantly making it stand out. The sound effects add another layer of immersion to the book.
This arc has been an interesting exploration of Forge that has expanded the world of the X-Men in major ways. Duggan plants several seeds that are sure to bear fruit in the long run. Along with the long-term implications, some revelations will have an immediate impact on the line. With X-Men #17, Duggan and the rest of the creative team deliver an exciting and thoughtful issue that lays the groundwork for major character growth.