Kris Anka is a comic-book artist who worked for both the cover and the interiors of these comic-books. He especially drew eight covers for Uncanny X-Force (2013-2014), fourteen covers of the All New X-Factor (2014-2015) series, and the covers of the Secret Wars tie-in, House of M. He worked with Brian Michael Bendis on Uncanny X-Men – on the Omega Mutant arc for example, for which he drew some fantastic pages with the nearly almighty mutant Matthew Malloy. We find him again for the last issue of Uncanny X-Men among others artists such as Stuart Immonen and Mahmud Asrar. Kris Anka is now the artist of the new Captain Marvel – who’s still Carol Danvers – series with the authors Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas. Apart from this work, Kris Anka also designed the new costume of Spider-Man 2099 for the eponymous series (see Will Sliney – Spider-Man 2099 #1).
If the major event of Brian Michael Bendis‘ last issue of Uncanny X-Men is the trial of Beast – the adult one – several artists, among whom Kris Anka, are in charge of telling parallel stories. These stories offer closure to the work of Brian Michael Bendis on the series : the most eagerly anticipated was without a doubt Iceman’s coming-out (see Mahmud Asrar – Uncanny X-Men #600). Kris Anka was in charge of Colossus and Magik reunion and reconciliation, thanks to Kitty Pride. The first glimpse we have from Colossus is his formidable punch on a tree. The symbol of his rage uprooted the massive tree in the Jean Grey School’ park. Why such an uncontrollable rage ? At what is Colossus so angry that he felt the need to go in the park and punch a tree ? The past years haven’t been easy for him, since the Avengers versus X-Men crossover. He first fought with his sisters because she perverted him, then lost control of his powers – just like the other Phoenix Five – and went into hiding as a criminal, before finding a shelter at the Jean Grey School where he joined the Amazing X-Men. The contrast between Colossus’ violence and speed when he punched the tree and the rest of the page, slow and peaceful, is impressive. It’s like Colossus had released all his rage in a single punch, before realising what he had done. He was standing contemplating the tree root, his fists clenched, when Kitty interrupted him. Colossus is as tall and muscular as Kitty is thin and small. Under his steel armor, Colossus is protecting his true feelings.
After all, who wouldn’t do the same thing at the sight of an ex ? Colossus’ particularity is that his armor is physical, not metaphorical. Both he and Kitty seem embarrassed, maybe because they didn’t broke up in the most clean way. Furthermore, Kitty is now engaged to Star-Lord, aka Peter Quill, while Colossus isn’t in any serious relationship – even despite his relation with Domino. Kris Anka‘s playing with the lights and the shadows thanks to the tree and their branches. Unlike the previous page, this one has a particular rhythm, given by both the light/shadow and the composition of the panels. Each time Colossus is angry because he ears his sister’s name, he’s seen in backlight : the shadows get stronger and enhance Colossus’ anger. Kris Anka‘s first using this in the fourth panel, with a plain-black Kitty in the foreground. This way, Kitty is between two spaces, our and the page’s. Thus Colossus seems closer and more impressive.
All the time Illyana is here, her head is down, her eyes hidden behind her hair. The only time she looked up is after her confession, when she feels Colossus is approaching her. And once again, Colossus is seen in backlight, so we doesn’t know what he thinks or feels towards his sister. For once, Magik is humble and sorry for her actions. She’s very touching and looks more like a little girl, a sorry teenager, than the ruler of the Limbo. Her contrite attitude is far away from her devil-like sharp costume.
Like we could have expected, Colossus and Magik hugged after Magik’ confessions. Like she let her anger go, Colossus took of his armor : he doesn’t need it anymore because nothing is threatening him. He’s not afraid of getting hurt anymore. He has accepted his sister’s apology, like he’s accepted the fact that Kitty his getting married to someone else. The trio, who for so long was like a family, is finally reconciliated, and Kris Anka gives his best for it. Colossus is still impressive and massive, even without his armor, but he looks more like a human being. His muscles are very well drawn, we’d almost like to touch them.
Finally Colossus and Magik are reconciliated, and the strongest mutant has accepted the fact that Kitty was about to get married. Brian Michael Bendis and Kris Anka concluded this in a good way, even if I would have like to see Colossus get back together with Kitty. But maybe the marriage with Star Lord – whose name is also Peter, just like Colossus – will not occur ? Based on the first issue of the new Guardian of the Galaxy series, written by Brian Michael Bendis, Kitty and Peter’s relationship seems to be difficult due to Peter’s new rank.