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Real talk? I’m only reading this X-Men title and one other out of the 34 to 12,000 X-Men books. So, yes, I may not be the X-Manliest Marvelite out there, but I’d like to think X-Men has a soft spot in my heart. However, this book is different from the usual X-Fare, casting Scott Summers as a crusading fugitive forced to team up with the likes of Magneto to save the burgeoning mutant populace from a world that hates and fears them even more than before.
So is this book a badass X-ample of Marvel lore or a shameful, Cypher-esque X-Cuse for a comic book?
After the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, as you’re all well aware, Cyclops was in prison for the murder of Charles Xavier and the almost genocide of the human race. Long story short, he escaped (with help) and went off to start the Charles Xavier School for the Gifted. It has been years since Scarlet Witch knocked the total number of mutants down to less than 200 and now, finally, mutants are starting to return.
In this issue, Cyclops, Emma, and Magik return a spooked would-be X-man back to his family (and to a few waiting eyes). There’s a few harsh talks, a new mutant is the victim of a hate crime, and… well that’s mostly it.
I like Chris Bachalo’s art, but it’s probably not everyone’s cup of…. um… mutant pun. It’s exaggerated, it can stray off model, but it’s never dull. The character designs are great and the poses, while stylized, feel kinetic and real.
The best part? The best part is the detail packed into the panels. Little things, like demonic images when Magik jumps, that regular books would ignore or just not think of. The number of panels with said detail varies, but it really adds to the book.
Brian Michael Bendis is as strong as ever here. The series has been an exemplary X-Men book, getting back to what makes the X-Men, X-Men. The interesting twist is having the dynamic thrown off due to the events of AvX. Cyclops’ school is underground, run by fugitives. It’s not the same kind of school we’ve seen before. Cyclops isn’t the same ol’ Cyclops, neither is Emma, or Magneto. With such a flood of X-Material, something that feels different is invaluable.
This issue seems light on the story, which is odd since last issue set up this whole training arc between Magik and Doctor Stranger. Perhaps it was never meant to be an arc, maybe it was just something to explain Magik’s switch from Lady Demon to In Control Lady Demon.
What’s really exciting is the return of super mutant predujice. You don’t really see a lot of mutant hate in the comics, not anymore, but here it’s back (although you never see it outside of the X-Men books. If it was that wide spread, you’d think you see other characters struggling with it). It’s a dimension that you don’t really find in other stories, again adding the advantage of standing out.
It’s a solid book. If you haven’t started reading this series, start. This is issue’s a little slow, but it’s not bad. It’s a bridge book, a link between two arcs. They’re mostly boring, but it’s an inevitable consequence of the comics medium.