REVIEW: ‘X-Men,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

X-Men #1

X-Men #1 is written by Gerry Duggan, illustrated by Pepe Larraz, colored by Marte Garcia, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles. It is published by Marvel Comics.  In the wake of the Hellfire Gala, a new X-Men team has been formed consisting of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine (Laura Kinney), Rogue, Polaris, Synch, and Sunfire. Launching a new base in New York, the X-Men are resolved to protect not only Krakoa but the world. Their first test comes in the form of a massive alien machine that has been sent to clear Earth of humanity.

The creative team previously worked together on Planet-Size X-Men #1, which was a massive step in X-Men history as it saw Magneto and a group of Omega-level mutants terraform Mars. This issue continues that sense of “swinging for the fences,” introducing a few new enemies who have grand designs of their own, including a mad scientist who seeks to crack the secret of mutant resurrection and a ruthless businessman who resents Krakoa for beating him to to the punch on colonizing Mars. However, I appreciate that the creators manage to keep the sci-fi elements that have come to be associated with the X-Men franchise ever since Jonathan Hickman took over and that the X-Men continue to do superheroic activities.

Duggan, who has a full grasp of team books due to his work on Marauders and Uncanny Avengers, applies his touch to the new team, and it’s a joy to behold. From Rogue saving Polaris to Laura being her usual antisocial stabby self, the characterization is top-notch. And Duggan works wonders with the relationship between Cyclops and Jean, who have often been wrongly described as “boring.” As one of the original X-Men, Scott Summers has thrown his life into ensuring peace between man and mutant. This new team is the natural extension of that. And Jean’s co-leader status is another story that thankfully doesn’t require the use of the Phoenix Force. Duggan also leans on the X-Men’s connection with the Marvel Universe—Cyclops has a conversation with Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich, and the Avengers and Fantastic Four make a brief appearance.

Larraz and Garcia continue to draw big and bombastic action sequences rich in color, and for my money, it’s some of the best artwork in a superhero comic to date. The alien creature that the X-Men fight looks like an unholy hybrid of an Angel from Neon Genesis Evangelion and a Xenomorph from Aliens, with a Giger-esque head covered in purple armor. Long, cable-like tentacles dangle from its head, and it can unleash a wave of sheer blue energy that psychically discombobulates its victims. The X-Men themselves wear a futuristic take on their classic costume (sans Jean, who just wears her classic Marvel Girl costume).

The best sequence comes when the X-Men unite their powers to defeat the alien menace in a jaw-dropping sequence that I never saw coming. And yet it works in terms of the sheer scale on the page and as an expression of the X-Men’s teamwork, which isn’t just regulated to Cyclops shouting orders. Much like the creative team, the characters within work like a well-oiled machine.

X-Men #1 returns the mutant team to its superheroic roots, with a creative team willing to up the scale of the challenges that Cyclops and his companions will face. If you have been following the X-Men franchise since its relaunch or if you’re a new reader, this is a perfect jumping-on point for readers.

X-Men #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


X-Men #1
5

TL;DR

X-Men #1 returns the mutant team to its superheroic roots, with a creative team willing to up the scale of the challenges that Cyclops and his companions will face. If you have been following the X-Men franchise since its relaunch or if you’re a new reader, this is a perfect jumping-on point for readers.