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A lot of X-Men books came out this week — well every week — but I ended up buying three, X-Men, X-Force, and Uncanny X-Men. TWO of whic involve Psylocke. With a glut like this, how can anything stand out? What can rise above the X-Noise and be deemed different.
Off the bat, not to bury the lead, X-Men was strongest. It’s not perfect, but its collective good outweighs the other’s collective good. What does that mean? LET’S FIND OUT.
So three issues in and we’ve already traveled half way around the world, an old X-Villain — sentient bacterium John Sublime — returns with an expanded mythology, and the Wolverine’s new Jean Grey’s School of Higher Learning gets mostly destroyed in a fight with new technology-possessing villainess, Akrea.
With Kitty Pryde and a few students handling the situation at the mansion, Storm leads a strike team against Akrea who has fallen back to Budapest. With John Sublime in tow, they make a… last stand for the fate of the planet.
Olivier Coipel’s art. Man. I think I said it before, but this might be my favorite art in any comic I’m reading. Maybe better than Saga. It’s just so damn interesting, it begs to be stared at.
Everyone’s look has a personality, they’re all different and derived from character. John Sublime, currently inhabiting a billionaire playboy, stands like a billionaire playboy.
Pixie stands in fairy-ish poses that you’d expect someone with the codename Pixie to stand in.
It seems like an obvious thing, but when I noticed it, I began realizing how little you see that in mainstream comics. Everyone is either in action poses or regular ‘look normal’ poses. Olivier’s posing adds so much, it makes the scenes feel organic and that, in turn, makes it much more fun to look at.
Brian Wood has made a pretty cohesive comic in just a few short issues. This feels like an X-Men book. The school b-stories, the struggle as a team, the philosophical grappling with the concept of ‘The Other’. It this kind of writing that made X-Men one of the biggest comics of all time. There’s some big stuff in this title’s future.
However, it’s not all rainbow snuggles and puppy dog kisses. The second issue was a giant knock-out fight that ravaged most of the school, a fight the X-Men barely made it out of. You would expect this to be even bigger, perhaps a multiple issue fight. But it just got wrapped up cleaning in an almost deus ex machina. It just seemed a tad anticlimactic to set up this Big Bad, then BAM! Done. Of course, Akrea could always be back later and is merely laying low. Such is the comics way.
The strongest part of the story is how Wood handles the characters. Storm, Rogue, Psylocke, they’ve always been classic X-Men characters, but they were rarely featured more prominently than their male teammates. Here, they’re able to play off each other in a way that you don’t see a lot. Rogue is the action-hunger bruiser, Psylocke is cold, precise killer (where in the current X-Force she’s just a gal caught in a real weird love triangle), and Storm is the leader who has to make the tough decisions. It’s an awesome aspect that the other X-Books miss out on.
Guys. Guys. Girls. Boys. Boys to Men. Get X-Men #3. Get the other two books. It’s worth it. The story is entertaining and the art is stellar. There’s only three so far, so now is the time to jump in. It’s a Marvel NOW book, so it’s an official jumping on point, no extensive knowledge of X-Men required. You now have negative reasons not to read it. You owe me reasons.