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X-Men #1 Review

Everything about this cover RULES. Especially Jubilee throwing up a peace sign. #represent
Everything about this cover RULES. Especially Jubilee throwing up a peace sign. #represent

X-Men #1

Brian Wood: Writer

Olivier Coipel: Penciler

Mark Morales & Olivier Coipel: Inkers

Laura Martin: Colorist

Joey Braccino: Reviewer

**Check out Mara Whiteside’s wonderful Gender Issues column here on Talking Comics, in which she discusses why she’s PUMPED for this comic!

When the news broke that Brian Wood would be relaunching X-Men under the Marvel NOW! banner, the internet was all like “Oh, cool!” He’d been firing on all cylinders on X-Men volume 3 and Ultimate Comics: X-Men, so why not?

Then the internet kept reading and saw that Wood would be framing the new series around an all-female team of mutants, and the internet went B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Straight up.

Some cried publicity stunt! Others decried the distaff X-Men as a derivative, thanks-but-no-thanks attempt at marketing to a demographic that would never read comics (re: women)! Still others demanded male-representation on the team, proclaiming a brand of (ignorant) reverse-sexism!

Of course, there was the sensible bunch of people who said, “Oh, cool,” and went along with their lives on this planet, exchanging tiny pieces of green paper.

And all of that hoopla was was like, 6 months before the comic itself (let alone any previews) was published. Some people, y’know?

Well, alas, the day has come and Brian Wood’s All-New, All-Female X-Men has hit the stands at your local comic shop.

The verdict? Wood writes in the classic X-mode of hard sci-fi mixed with good ol’ fashioned dysfunctional relationship drama. Moreso than any other X-book on the stands, this first issue of the X-Men’s adjectiveless new volume evokes the family aspect of the mutant mythos. For many years, the X-side of the Marvel U was the place to find a group of heroes tied together not just by a common enemy, by literally by DNA. And I don’t mean like brothers and sisters, but rather the X-gene flowing through their blood. The X-Men are a family, and somewhere in the mix of Schism and battles with the Avengers and X-Revolutions, this core tenet of the mythology had been lost. Not completely, mind you, as the Decimation and Utopia storylines really pushed the “One Race” line, but the sort of soap opera relationship focus present in X-Men #1 is in many ways a breath of fresh air.

Can we talk about Storm’s look here? Because it’s amazing.

On art duties are three of the best in the business: Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales, and Laura Martin. Coipel’s cinematic lay-outs and distinct naturalism are the epitome of contemporary comics visual storytelling. Morales, a legend in his own right, maintains the nuance of Coipel’s pencils while still imbuing each panel with weight and gravitas with his inks. And Martin is Marvel’s go-to colorist for their biggest event books; her vibrant colors are perfect for the diverse array of characters and styles on the X-side of the Marvel U. This art-team—either as a whole or individually—has been associated with some of Marvel’s biggest events over the last decade; Siege, Fear Itself, Secret Invasion, Avengers Vs. X-Men all bear one or all of these artists’ names on the cover. The high-profile of Coipel, Morales, and Martin in addition to writer Wood suggests Marvel’s investment in this book.

Plot details? Without spoiling anything: Mysterious meteorites materialize! Jubilee’s got a mysterious baby in tow! A mysterious gentleman follows her all the way from Bulgaria to the Jean Grey School! Storm, Psylocke, Rachel Grey, Rogue, and Kitty Pryde get involved non-mysteriously (they’re a family after all!)! All of our heroines wear pants!

Did I mention the aforementioned baby is totally adorbz? And Psylocke eschews her traditional psy-dagger for a psy-BOW-and-freaking-ARROW!?

Can you tell I’m trying to tell you as much as I possibly can to pick this book up?

Also, Pixie sighting! Bl!ng sighting! Mercury sighting! I could go on!

Verdict

Buy it! Wood isn’t resting on the lady-laurels of this book; he’s launching a fine story for our merry band of marvelous mutants!!! To my initial chagrin, X-Men #1 does not open with our mutant heroines shopping in the mall and making quips about saving Jubilee that one time (see Uncanny X-Men #244 or X-Men: The Animated Series, “Night of the Sentinels” to get the reference). Of course, that “disappointment” quickly faded as I flipped through the pages of this wonderful debut issue. Between Olivier Coipel’s gorgeous artwork and Wood’s nuanced script, X-Men #1 definitely shows a whole lot of promise not just as a lady-led book, but also as a sci-fi/fantasy soap opera comic in the true Marvel manner.

Joey Braccino took his BA in English and turned it into an Ed.M. in English Education. Currently, he brings comics back in a big way all day every day to public education. In addition to proselytizing the good word of comics to this nation’s under-aged…

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