Hey look at that, Comic Bastards is covering a Marvel title and better yet… a group review. Underneath this paragraph is Marvel’s blurb about the issue and for some reason they decided that a book they picked and created was demanded by the fans… not sure how that works, but whatever. If this is your first time with our group reviews then it goes like this. Each of the writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give their thoughts on the issue and then give it a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass. Now get reading! Because you demanded it! The X-Women finally get their own book, from critically acclaimed superstars Brian Wood (X-MEN, ULTIMATE X-MEN, DMZ, The Massive) and Olivier Coipel (AVX, HOUSE OF M, THOR)! An old enemy shows up at the X-Men’s door, seeking asylum from an ancient evil come back to earth. Meanwhile, Jubilee has come home, and she’s brought with her an orphaned baby who might hold the key to the earth’s survival…or its destruction. Against a backdrop of what seems like an alien invasion and an eons-spanning war between brother and sister, Storm steps up and puts together a team to protect the child and stop a new threat that could destroy all life on earth!
Being a reader that is constantly looking for new things to jump on I generally get quite excited when I see an “issue one” for something. I think goody, now's my chance to dive in and be a part of this world. But I must admit that this book didn't do too much in the way of exciting me. I will probably check the next few issues just to see where it goes but it all just kind of fell flat.
I feel the story is already kicking it off too large a story and that may deter some readers. I was definitely a little confused on my first read through. I hate issue ones that have characters that aren't introduced properly and just have an assumed history with everyone else. But hey, it could pick up; it just didn't really do anything for me.
How can you not fall in love with a comic surrounding mutant females and a cute ass baby? It is hard to resist. The relationships built between the girls in this comic have a real flow to them. They talk like any other group of girls which makes it easy to pick up on the dialog.
I could look at Storm’s Mohawk all day and be satisfied. I am just throwing that out there and… I really wish Halle Berry would do this look for the new movie. It is so badass and makes me love Storm every time I see her. The hair action aside, the issue didn’t have tons of action but it keep up with moving the story right along. It was a good pace.
This first issue read like a preview for what is about to come...not like a full thorough issue. I am going to say Buy though because I think most comic fans will enjoy this issue. It is a likable read but I also could see some people skipping to issue #2 and having no problem.
Amongst the multitude of X-comics currently published by Marvel, even proven talents like Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel will have a tough task proving that their adjectiveless X-Men is worthy of a place in a crowded marketplace. From this first issue I'm not 100% convinced but it's off to quite a bright start. Wood introduces a new villain by way of reintroducing two older ones, sets out the magnitude of its threat potential and provides us with a nice little chase sequence to tie it all together.
Coipel's ultra-fine linework is as crisp as ever and is as suited to dynamic action as it is to capturing the emotions of characters and infusing them with personality. With Laura Martin's smooth color gradients the overall look of X-Men is highly polished and I can only hope that this standard is maintained as the series moves forward.
This one only gets a borrow from me, despite the technical skill of Wood and Coipel, because it's lacking in the kind of satisfying action I expect from my superhero comics, I'm not sufficiently invested in or intrigued by the core cast's current status quo and I'm less than thrilled to see the return of an old Grant Morrison villain. Dedicated X-fans should absolutely go for it though, if there's any room left in their monthly budgets.
Things like sexual orientation, religion and gender are too readily used these days to elicit an almost cheap response from the public, and I was worried that X-Men being built around an all-female cast would end up being a gimmick of some kind. Now, I’m not saying that an all/mostly-female superhero team is, itself, inherently gimmicky; just look at Uncanny X-Force, FF and Fearless Defenders for proof to the contrary. But these books flip the patriarchal comic book standard on its head by prominently featuring strong/dynamic female roles organically ... not by bragging about doing so beforehand.
I have to admit, though, that despite the hype-tastic ballyhoo, and rather because of great action, well-written characters (only Rogue felt a bit too generic), the beginnings of an intriguing threat and a visual style that is so kinetic, it brings an urgency to even some of its quieter moments ... this is just a damn good X-Men book. That’s not a gender thing, it’s a comics thing.
Speaking of which, it never feels like this team was forced together just because they all pack the same equipment - it springs up naturally, spontaneously, because these are the right heroes at the right moment. Okay, sure, Jubilee’s teen pregnancy might have been another scheme to make this thing “relevant,” but it also fits integrally with the story that’s being told, and in fact adds to its mystery, rather than just provide contemporary culture significance.
Saying that, Kitty’s use of “OMG” is pretty goddamn silly. I get the joke, but let’s be honest, this is used to expressly say that X-Men is “down with the kids” ... and that’s almost as sad as relying on gender as kitsch. Otherwise, though, I thought this was a really fun, engagingly-drawn and colored start to a series I’m very much looking forward to seeing progress.
I’m giving this a very soft borrow, that is to say that if some of the things that I point out irk you in any way you might actually want to pass on the book instead. First off, this did not read like a Brian Wood book. Even within his Conan run there is a distinct tone that is Wood, but I didn’t find that here. Also this first issue is not a true first issue. I’ve jumped on and off the X-Men franchise and while I haven’t kept up with the Marvel Now line of books, I’d like to think that I’m familiar with a lot of it. That wasn’t the case with this issue as it not only felt like I came in on the middle of a story arc, but I had no idea who the villain was. The dialog was just okay, but a lot of the characters felt “on”, meaning that they were the ramped up version of themselves. It was as if Wood took them to the extremes so that you would instantly recognize them, but rather than that being a cool fanboy moment it was kind of annoying.
On the good side of things, the art is fantastic and looked and felt like an X-Men title. There is just a look that an X-Book should have and it managed to capture that. The all-female team is interesting and I wonder if their power sets will be balanced enough for all types of missions, but then again that’s what makes the X-men interesting. I’m curious about this series, but I didn’t impress me and the hype surrounding it had nothing to do with it. It’s the execution and while this is a professional book, it was a bit mundane for me.
Score: 3 Borrows, 2 Buys
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Oliver Coipel
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: 5/29/13