REVIEW: ‘Chris Claremont Anniversary Special,’ Issue #1

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Chris Claremont Anniversary Special #1

Chris Claremont Anniversary Special #1 is written by Chris Claremont; penciled by Bill Sienkiewicz, Sean Chen, Diego Olortegui, and Brett Booth; inked by Marc Deering, Roberto Poggi and Adelso Corona; colored by Chris Sotomayor, Rachelle Rosenberg, Erick Arciniega and Guru-eFX; and lettered by Tom Orzechowski. It is published by Marvel Comics. The New Mutants’ leader Dani Moonstar is approached by the Goddess of Death Hela, who sends her on a journey to embrace her destiny. Dani travels throughout time and space to battle the malevolent Shadow King, encountering the Fantastic Four, Carol Danvers in her binary form, and several members of the X-Men including Gambit and Storm.

This issue celebrates 50 years of Claremont’s work, and it does so with a rather ingenious framing device. Dani’s powers as a Valkyrie allow her to travel throughout time and space, and unfortunately the Shadow King is able to use his psychic powers to hop into multiple bodies-transforming well-known heroes into ferocious foes. It not only challenges Dani, who is working toward her ultimate destiny, but the heroes she encounters as they’re turned against their friends and families.

Claremont also returns to several characters he wrote over the years, most notably the X-Men. His tenure on the mutant heroes helped make them a cornerstone of superhero fiction, including works like The Dark Phoenix Saga and God Loves, Man Kills. Claremont  also helped co-create several mutant heroes including Rogue and Gambit, and had brief runs on Fantastic Four. No matter the hero, there’s something for everyone in this anniversary special-whether it’s Binary taking on Rogue or three different versions of Sue Storm teaming up to do battle. Even the Starjammers make an appearance.

Joining Claremont is a formidable group of artists. Each artist handles a different section, with Sienkiewicz providing the art for the framing device. Sienkiewicz is best known for illustrating the “Demon Bear” story of New Mutants, which Claremont also penned and which also saw Dani being put through trials and tribulations. Here, he utilizes the same use of shadows and scale that made that story pop; Hela in particular is immensely imposing with her spiked crown seeming to fill the field and her facial expression always containing shades of malevolence. The darkness is also broken up by the appearance of Dark Phoenix in the beginning, with her body wrapped in hellish flames.

Chen, Olortegui and Booth each illustrate a different section of the special. Chen’s art stands out the most, as he illustrates the Fantastic Four sequence. His pencils has a simple yet striking flair to them, leading to rather impressive fight scenes. He also manages to give the three Sues a different look; one is wearing the classic Fantastic Four uniform, another is wearing a gold bikini that seems like something out of John Carter of Mars, and the third has armor and a cloak that resembles Doctor Doom’s-but with the Fantastic Four symbol. Their combined powers also lead to two big splash pages that consist of invisible energy exploding out into a blue-white flash, nearly enveloping the page.

The Chris Claremont Anniversary Special is a fitting tribute to one of the greatest comic book writers on the planet, featuring a collection of top tier artists and several characters that Claremont has penned over the years. If you are a fan of Claremont’s stories, particularly his X-Men run, then you have to pick this book up.

Chris Claremont Anniversary Special #1 is available wherever comics are sold and through ComiXology using our affiliate link.

 


Chris Claremont Anniversary Special #1
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TL;DR

The Chris Claremont Anniversary Special is a fitting tribute to one of the greatest comic book writers on the planet, featuring a collection of top tier artists and several characters that Claremont has penned over the years. If you are a fan of Claremont’s stories, particularly his X-Men run, then you have to pick this book up.