X-Men #1 is the latest addition to the X-Book scene. Can this cast of X-Men survive in a crowded world of mutant misfits when it doesn’t even garner an adjective? Your Major Spoilers review of X-Men #1 awaits. (Hint: with Brian Wood and Oliver Coipel taking care of business, the answer is probably.)

SUMMARY

Pros
Oliver Coipel’s fantastic art
Fast-paced, high concept story

Cons

May confuse new X-Men readers
Last page reveal did not land

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5)
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xmen1coverX-MEN #1
Writer: Brian Wood
Penciler: Olivier Coipel
Inkers: Mark Morales and Oliver Coipel
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Oliver Coipel & Laura Martin
Editor: Jeanne Schaefer
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

When this title was rebooted and solicited, a lot of hay was made about the book featuring an all-women cast of X-Men (and the less said about the “durr why isn’t it called X-Women” jokes, the better). I am pleased to report that Brian Wood is more concerned with writing a good story than he is preaching politics. While it is a bit questionable to have a purposely female-centric cast all caring for a baby, X-Men #1 otherwise sidesteps the swampy morass of gender issues and delivers a great first issue. The story is first and foremost here, and it’s about adventuring mutants doing adventure-y things (who just happen to all be women).

BABIES FROM SPAAAAAAACE

X-Men #1 centers around Jubilee travelling from Hungary to Westchester with a mysterious orphan baby in tow, who may or may not have something to do with a mysterious meteorite. She doesn’t seem to be a vampire anymore (if you don’t know, don’t ask), but has been out of the fold for a while now. In the interest of providing a home for the child, she wants to rejoin her X-Family and come back to the fold. But unfortunately, a threatening man seems to be following her home, forcing Storm, Shadowcat and Rogue to intervene, while Rachel Summers and Psylocke get some work back at the school. And naturally, this is no simple baby.

While his voice for Rogue is a little off-model, it’s alright. Brian Wood gives everyone a moment to shine. I could already feel how this cast will fit together. There’s a little action, good character work, and a nice set-up for the first arc. What Wood does not do well is introduce the characters. If you don’t know who John Sublime is or what all these characters powers are, you won’t learn about it here. Not properly establishing the protagonists for a wider audience beyond the X-Book diehards is an issue #1 no-no. And personally, this partially ruined the last page reveal, since I have little-to-no history with that surprise character, so just quite why they are supposed to be so scary was lost on me.

FRESH AND CLEAN

The art on X-Men #1 is fresh. From the opening page, you can see that Oliver Coipel is doing work. There is a lot to love about his style – it’s detailed, dynamic, he handles action and static shots equally well. But what I really want to sing the praises of are his faces. Some comic book artists have trouble making their characters expressive, but when a talent like Coipel is able to do it so easily, a reader could easily take it for granted. It adds so much to the story to have the characters actually reacting non-verbally. This is already one of the best-looking X-Books out there, and I hope Marvel can keep this creative team together for quite some time.

BOTTOM LINE: MAKES ITS CASE

Some might ask if we needed another X-Men title in such a crowded market. On the face of it, it’s a hard sell. Psylocke and Storm are heavily featured in Uncanny X-Force, Shadowcat has a prominent role in All New X-Men, and Rogue and Rachel Summers are able utility players in a few books. But a book this good-looking and this fun doesn’t need to do more to prove itself than simply exist. This is a straight-up entertaining first issue, and I will be adding this to my pull-list, plain and simple. I like that Wood is playing with the high-concept, living bacteria John Sublime character from Grant Morrison’s transcendent run. It tells me that this is going to be a book with big ideas. It might not tie into the larger Marvel universe in the same way that Uncanny X-Men and similar titles do, but it does seem to be geared to telling big, interesting stories with an exciting cast. What more could you want? X-Men #1 earns a well-received four out of five stars. Check it out.

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Author

George Chimples

George Chimples

George Chimples comes from the far future, where comics are outlawed and only outlaws read comics. In an effort to prevent that horrible dystopia from ever coming into being, he has bravely traveled to the past in an attempt to change the future by ensuring that comics are good. Please do not talk to him about grandfather paradoxes. He likes his comics to be witty, trashy fun with slightly less pulp than a freshly squeezed glass of OJ. George’s favorite comic writers are Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison, while his preferred artists are Guy Davis and Chris Bachalo, He loves superheroes, but also enjoys horror, science fiction, and war comics. You can follow him @TheChimples on Twitter for his ramblings regarding comics, Cleveland sports, and nonsense.

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6 Comments

  1. May 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm — Reply

    Bleah. Hated it.

  2. SmarkingOut Adam
    May 31, 2013 at 2:43 pm — Reply

    I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a strong start to a story that involved characters I really like. I’m definitely getting issue #2.

  3. May 31, 2013 at 9:49 pm — Reply

    Under ‘Bottom Line’ .. ‘Uncanny X-Factor’ … ahem ;)… AHEM! ;)
    I love the return of Jubilee as I’ve been waiting for it but I’m kind of not feeling the book from the first title (and the X titles are my Marvel books of choice.)

    • June 1, 2013 at 12:03 am — Reply

      Thank you. It’s fixed now.

      • June 1, 2013 at 9:20 am — Reply

        We’re all guilty of that now and again! Easy enough to do with there being what feels like 10 X books on the market at the moment (not including stand alones with X characters / mutants in Avengers books / etc!)

  4. June 2, 2013 at 1:04 am — Reply

    I enjoyed the story. While I’m not familiar with the brother/sister cosmic microbe people, I feel like I got enough in the story to grasp the basics. It’s off to a good start, and I’m looking forward to see where it goes.

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