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Sep 15

X-Men Red #6 annotations

Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

X-MEN RED vol 2 #6
“The Hour of Magneto”
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Colourist: Federico Blee
Letterer & Production: Ariana Maher
Design: Tom Muller
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1: Magneto’s broken helmet in the foreground, while Storm fights in the background.

PAGE 2. Data page. A transcript of Craig Marshall’s field recording, which continues into the following scene. As far as I know, he’s a new character. He’s also the first indication we’ve had that ordinary humans are welcome to explore Arakko beyond the Diplomatic Zone, if they’re actually able to get to Mars in the first place. (This being the Marvel Universe, it seems to be just taken for granted that NASA has access to technology that can reach the Moon – it’s possible that he got a lift to Phobos from Feilong, of course.)

“Commander Brand told us that the Arakkii were dangerous…” We’ve seen in earlier issues that it suits Abigail Brand to portray the Arakkii as a bunch of violent morons as part of her general efforts to destabilise the place – which, of course, is basically how the entire population came across before Al Ewing started writing them.

Of course, because of those stories, we’ve seen a fair number of Arakkii who were indeed violent morons, so it’s possible that Marshall has just got lucky in the part of Arakko where he happened to set up shop. But that’s probably not the idea.

PAGES 3-4. Marshall talks to the Arakkii children.

“I’m of Arakko…” This formulation, and “a place in the broken land”, are recurring motifs for immigrants being accepted into Arakkii society.

PAGES 5-6. Storm fights Uranos’s war machines.

“And so, once again, a people who I make bold claims to represent suffered – while I was elsewhere.” Storm was absent during last issue’s attack on Arakko, because she was on Earth attending a meeting of the Quiet Council. It’s not entirely clear how she got back here, but presumably either one of the gates survived, or one of the survivors grew a new one.

The previous “people” were the Morlocks. Storm notionally became their leader in Uncanny X-Men #170 (1983) but then pretty much ignored them, and was absent when they were slaughtered by the Marauders in the 1986 Mutant Massacre crossover.

PAGE 7. Recap and credits. The title parallels last issue’s “The Hour of Uranos”.

PAGES 8-11. Lactuca shares with Storm the perspectives of various characters.

Sobunar’s old prison legend doesn’t seem to be something we’ve heard before, and is presumably a piece of Arakkii mythology.

Nova was also seen in the previous issue’s montage sequence fighting above Port Prometheus, and there too he was thinking “It’s all up to me.” There’s an obvious irony in his seeing himself as the solely-responsible hero when he’s not even the star of the book.

The Fisher King was seen briefly in the previous issue, “feel[ing] the wind change” and recognising that “night has fallen.” We’re told here that his name was psychically removed from his memory to prevent it being detected by “the Vile Omnipaths” – presumably agents of the late Tarn’s Locus Vile. Since we’re told later on that he holds one of the three Night seats on the Great Ring, the implication may be that his identity was erased from his mind to conceal this fact from them (though presumably more would have to be erased for that to work). The bit about him being “the Omega of having nothing” with “no limit to the nothing I had” refers to the definition of Omega mutants introduced in House of X.

Isca switched sides last issue for the reason she gives here. There’s a suggestion that, while she’s compelled to be on Uranos’s winning side, she is at least trying to fight for him in the least useful way possible.

Wrongslide,  Sunspot and Khora were seen briefly last issue, fighting the attackers. Khora is also thinking about the emergence of the Night Table. Her comments about her father and sister are picked up in a data page later in the issue, so we’ll come back to them.

Wiz-Kid and Cable are on the S.W.O.R.D. space station, the Peek; the narration in the last issue seemed to indicate that everybody aboard had died. Cable was killed in battle on Arakko itself and presumably he (and Wiz Kid) have been resurrected and sent to the Peek through surviving gates. The bodies floating around them belong to Forearm, Slab and one other I don’t recognise.

Wiz-Kid “electrocuted [Cable’s] brain” in S.W.O.R.D. #10 (2021) when he was allied with Abigail Brand in a scheme to feign betraying S.W.O.R.D. and defeat Henry Peter Gyrich. Or at least, that’s what he understood to be happening at the time. Like other characters, he’s lost confidence in her and figured out that she has schemes.

Abigail Brand died on panel last issue and her resurrection is not yet complete.

Lodus Logos is one of the Great Ring members.

PAGES 12-14. The Table Night approach Magneto.

“Apocalypse made use of mutants in concert…” This is the standard Krakoan idea of “mutant circuits”, using powers in synergy. Apparently this was standard practice long ago when Krakoa and Arakko formed the single island of Okkara and fell out of favour once Arakko was under Genesis’s rule. An upcoming data page tells us that Genesis also sidelined the Night Seats; the implication may be that Genesis was culturally averse to this sort of contribution. Historian Xilo no longer remembers what happened because of the damage he took in the previous issue.

Syzya is a new character, as far as I can see.

Sunspot again does his ironic thing of referring to Magneto as “headmaster”, based on their relationship back in late 1980s New Mutants – which is completely inconsistent with asserting a place as one of the Table Night.

PAGE 15. Data page: the history of Table Night. We’ve been told in the past simply that they’re a shadowy presence who are never seen, and who might be an urban legend; their seats around the Great Ring have always been missing, making it Not A Ring. That’s probably significant in itself.  According to this, Genesis downgraded them to mere advisers, and eventually Ora Serrata just killed them for saying things that Genesis didn’t want to hear.

“No Omega has ever served on the Night Seats. None ever will.” This is a callback to the original Great Ring data page from X-Men #16 (2020) which said that “No mutant has ever sat on the Great Ring who was not an Omega-level mutant. Not once. It has never happened – it never will.” According to this data page, the Night Seats were not technically part of the Great Ring.

Idyll the Ancestor. Not the same Idyll who was killed last issue. The Arakkii seem to like recycling the “Idyll” name for their precogs.

“One born of smoke and swiftly caged.” Clearly Syzya.

“One born with eyes of fire that saw truths terrible and wonderful.” Apparently the third member of Table Night who, it’s suggested, was lost during “the Trial of Swords”, i.e. the X of Swords crossover. I’m not immediately sure who that’s meant to be.

“There was one with no weapon at all.” Presumably the Fisher King, since “weapon” is what the Arakkii call mutant powers (at least when they have combat applications).

“The Weaponless One had a Weaponless Child, and another who burned with her mother’s heart.” The implication is that the Fisher King is the father of Khora and also of Weaponless Zsen from Legion of X. Zsen does have powers, but they have no combat application.

“A young man of many worlds and many lands…” Sunspot.

PAGES 16-17. Magneto and the Night Seats talk.

Sunspot defers to Magneto as a leader sincerely, rather than ironically as he usually does.

“Here I was thinking our meeting was a happy coincidence…” Magneto and the Fisher King met in issue #1, when the Fisher King was wandering around the land on which Magneto planned to build his home, and approached him to ask if it was his. One of the first things the Fisher King said in that scene was that Magneto was welcome to do so “if you keep an open door”, a theme he returns to here. Fisher King seems to be saying here that Sunspot had already tipped him off to be in the area, implying that Sunspot was already recruited as the third Night Seat by that point, or at least on the verge of it.

Lots more talking about the Vile and the prisons in this scene, and presumably we’ll get more details of that period of Arakki history in due course.

“Let the old ways change.” Again, Xilo and Lodus Logos are reconsidering the merits of a more teamwork-based approach to Arakki strategy. Perhaps the loss of most of Xilo’s historical memory has made him more open to change, though in fairness, his colleague seems to have been prompted to the same view just by the force of Uranos’s attack.

PAGES 18-24. Uranos’ machines heal and resume the attack.

Uthios is a new character.

Nova, once again, quickly reverts to his mantra of “it’s all up to me”.

“Once, I struck him with lightning, and he used that to empower himself at the expense of my life force.” That did indeed happen in Uncanny X-Men #150 (1981).

PAGE 25. Trailers.

Bring on the comments

  1. Bengt says:

    I really dislike the trope of having a longstanding very warlike group/culture that doesn’t use teamwork or tactics or sense because they are to proud or angry or whatever. They’d be dead.

    It’s fine if they just talk around it like in the opening scene with the farmers. But the Great Ring guys is all like, What is this strange thing you call teamwork?!

  2. CitizenBane says:

    So what did the Night Table do, exactly? What was their contribution to this story?

  3. Douglas says:

    This was just extraordinary — a ton of worldbuilding, sharp character work (including a handful of new characters), clever callbacks, a couple of massive plot twists, fist-in-the-air moments, and something close to a sex scene, all in the context of constantly escalating action. I am absolutely adoring this series.

  4. GN says:

    Paul > Idyll the Ancestor. Not the same Idyll who was killed last issue. The Arakkii seem to like recycling the “Idyll” name for their precogs.

    We’ve seen Idyll the Ancestor before. He was the precog that warned Genesis about the imminent fall of Arakko during the flashback sequences in X-Men 12 / X-Men 14.

    The latest Idyll who got killed off last issue was either his daughter or his granddaughter. She was the one who made the prescient prediction about Arakko’s eventual move to Mars before she was arrested by the Vile. She also predicted Magneto’s fate (an empty heart beats hardest…) before dying.

    I wonder if the current Idyll had a young son or daughter precog that can take her place on the Great Ring.

  5. GN says:

    Syzya of the Smoke seems to be one of the Neyaphem to me.

    She is very similar to Nightcrawler, something Ewing called attention to through Magneto’s comments. Visually, they both have pointed ears, a prehensile tail and a similar skin color. Power-wise, they are both teleporters that leave smoke trails behind them. Kurt is limited by line of sight and his smoke smells of sulfur while Syzya is limited by memory and her smoke smells of jasmine.

    Some of Azazel’s brood must have been living on Okkara and then found themselves on Arakko, trapped in Amenth.

  6. The Other Michael says:

    I was having trouble reconciling the statement that the Fisher King is an Omega of having nothing with the statement that no Omegas has ever sat on the Great Ring, but if the Night Seats don’t technically count as the Great Ring… yay loophole, I suppose?

    Also, continuing the trend of Bobby being awesome.

  7. Chris V says:

    Wait, am I confused? It was that no mutant not an Omega has ever sat on the Great Ring, while no mutant who is an Omega has ever sat on the Night Seats, but the Fisher King is an Omega and did sit on the Night Seats. I guess the implication has to do with forgetting that the Fisher King sat on the Night Seats.

  8. YLu says:

    I don’t see why the comment that he’s the Omega of nothing should be taken literally. It’s just a poetic way of saying how low he was brought. He’s not actually an Omega mutant.


    Ordinarily, I’d completely agree, but the Draco business seems to be one of the rare storylines that everyone at Marvel’s agreed it’s best to memory hole.

  9. Douglas says:

    @GN – another thought on Syzya – the combination of “teleportation” and “smoke” makes me think of Aarkus, the Golden Age Vision, who can teleport anywhere there is smoke!

  10. Alexx Kay says:

    Page 6: “Will you survive the experience?” Is a callback to the frequently-used line (first used for Kitty Pryde?) “Welcome to the X-Men, hope you survive the experience.”

    CitizenBane: You make an excellent point. The Night Table fought, but so did 99% of the population. Unless there’s something yet to be explained, Beto just did a dramatic reveal because … he likes doing dramatic reveals. Which is in character with how Ewing has written him for years, but doesn’t make a lot of plot-sense.

    Maybe Beto just wanted an excuse to be in on taking the fight to Uranos? If so, it’s ironic that in the follow-up, JD#4, he doesn’t appear at all, nor is he even mentioned.

  11. MasterMahan says:

    She’s probably a Neyaphem in that she’s likely related to Nightcrawler somehow, but I doubt the term will come up. The Neyaphem and Cheyarafim are staying in the memory hole, because A) devil mutants who are hurt by the blood of angel mutants is deeply stupid, and B) with Okkara and Threshold, Marvel doesn’t need any more ancient mutant civilizations.

    But there’s one element from The Draco that managed to stick, and that’s Azazel, if only because he gives Kurt an arch-nemesis. He could easily have had a descendant in Okkara or ended up in Amenth as part of his “Satan but not really” shtick.

  12. Jon L says:

    I personally would love it if Ora Serrata would wipe the entirety of Chuck Austin’s run from existence. However, if I could get excited about *anyone* tackling the Draco garbage, making sense of it, and properly integrating it into the wider Marvel continuity, it would have to be Ewing.

  13. Evilgus says:

    This book is just superb.

    How Ewing manages to wring so much story, world building and character from yet another bloody crossover, I don’t know. Great writer.

    The art is fantastic too.

    I’m even finding Arrako compelling and Sunspot interesting!

  14. Loz says:

    Well, it helps that Ewing is writing Sunspot as the ultra-smart, ultra-competent Avenger and not the immature boy that Hickman reverted him back to at the start of the Krakoa era.

    Both Ewing and Gillen seem to have a skill for merging their titles in with the Event of the week, it can’t be easy.

  15. JDSM24 says:

    Azazel was part of Apocalypse’s Entourage when he came to Krakoa in HOXPOX

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