Paving the way for the X-Men’s Darkest Timeline yet

It feels like the dust has only just settled AX: Judgment Day, and here we are at the beginning of another X-Men event story arc. Despite the Avengers or the Eternals not being involved (well, it kind of does), the scope of Sins of Sinister, as the event is known, in some ways dwarfs that of its predecessor, 10, then 100, then 1,000 years from now in what is arguably Marvel’s darkest future timeline. But before readers can get that far, Sins of Sinister #1 reveals how it happens in a kick-off issue that’s as satisfying as an independent read and succeeds in building hype for what’s to come.

For the first few pages Sins of Sinister #1 feels like the next issue of Immortal X-Men. That makes sense with the Immortal X-Men creative team of Kieron Gillen and Lucas Werneck at the helm. They pick up where the most recent issue of that series left off, condemning Mister Sinister for his repeated slaughter of the Quiet Council and for compromising resurrection protocols by killing Hope Summers. As Sinister ends up in the pit, he has already infected the resurrected Quiet Council members with a version of his consciousness. Now the Silent Council is Sinister.

From there, the problem feels like you’re reading the highlights of an entire event to itself. The sinister compromising of the Silent Council is just the beginning of its grand plans. What starts as a Invasion of the Body SnatchersThe conspiracy in style quickly escalates as Sinister executes one bombastic insane plan after another to eliminate all threats to his rule.

Werneck proves capable of depicting all this, in a style familiar to all who follow Immortal X-Men. He is also allowed the iconic opening of House of X with a sinister twist. Readers are then treated to a series of splash pages that realize the length of Sinister’s unrelenting reach, each created by a different special guest artist. It’s horrifying and delightful, and you get the sense that the creative team is having almost as much fun with their dark side as Sinister seems to be having as he lives out his most sadistic fantasies. Almost.

While readers may giggle at Sinister’s flamboyant depravity, there’s subtext layered throughout. Building on the aftermath of Judgement daywho forced Krakoa to become further entangled in human nations, Sins of Sinister #1 shows how bad-intentioned actors can compromise a good-intentioned system. They scrimp on his noble goals for selfish gain while wrapped in kindness. Once their soft power becomes inescapable, the masks can come off and the exploited continue to cheer for their less than benevolent “benefactors.”

However, this is just the beginning of a much bigger story. For those invested in the characters involved, the issue has plenty of reasons to be excited. A legion of Sinister-modified Nightcrawlers? A squad of Sinister X-Men? Storm leading the defiant few escapes corruption by accepting her mortality? The song set the tone for each story, enticing readers with enticing hooks that any X-Men fan would find hard to ignore.

It’s clear that Gillen and Werneck, along with their other collaborators at the events, intend to go big with Sins of Sinister. Alternate timelines and dark futures are well-known tropes in X-Men history, dating back to “Days of Future Past”. Still, the setup here feels fresh and exciting in a way a jaded comic book reader might not expect. For decades, “Age of Apocalypse” reigned as the first villain-ruled alternate future in the X-Men canon. If Sins of Sinister #1 is something to pass by, we may have a new challenger for that title.

Published by Marvel comic books

on January 25, 2023

Written by Kieron Gillen

Art by Lucas Werneck (with special guest artists)

Color through Brian Valencia

Letters through Clayton Cows

Cover Leinil Francis Yu and Jesus Aburtov

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