100th Anniversary Special – X-Men #1
Writer – Robin Furth
Artist – James Masters
Colorists – James Campbell & Vero Gandini
Review by Joey Braccino
We’re now in the third week of Marvel’s strange, alternate reality 100th Anniversary Special mini-series of one-shots. The premise is fairly simple: Marvel is publishing a single issue from what could potentially be the ongoing series of its line in the year 2061. It kicked off appropriately with the 100th Anniversary Special – Fantastic Four (which I loved) and was followed by the 100th Anniversary Special – Spider-Man (which Adam Shaw did not love). The conceit is risky and bizarre, particularly because we are essentially dropped in media res into an ongoing story arc that won’t be published at all for another 47 years.
This week’s 100th Anniversary Special is for The X-Men!!! Now, as a hardcore X-fan, I was especially interested in seeing where our merry band of mutants would hypothetically be in 2061. And, as a hardcore Scott & Emma ‘shipper and a fan of Brian Michael Bendis’ current run on Uncanny, I was not disappointed!
Here’s the situation in 2061 in X-land: Scott Summers is flippin’ PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!! Hell yes!!! #Cyclopswasright
And he’s married to Emma Frost! YES!
And that’s pretty much all we get at the start. The X-Men have saved the world enough times (finally) to convince the country that perhaps equality is an option, so Cyclops runs on the Pro-Mutant Party ticket and wins! 100th Anniversary Special – X-Men #1 drops us right into the “Inauguration Aftermath.” Robin Furth then takes us through an engaging one-shot that is ½ mystery thriller (someone has “kidnapped” Emma Frost!!!), ½ X-Men versus Anti-Mutant Rally brawl (classic X-Men), and ½ … well, I won’t spoil the last half, but it’s related to the other two and, really, no X-Men story is complete without a certain superpowered psychic someone showing up and obliterating everything (figuratively?). It does result in a strange ending that seems bizarrely final given the nature of the series, but hey, it’s the X-Men, and everything’s weird in this corner of the Marvel universe.
Furth has an uncanny grasp of the X-Men operating theme, which makes for a quintessential X-story despite the lack of exposition and context. Similar to Jen Van Meter’s understanding of the Fantastic Four franchise’s reliance on family and fun, Furth understands that the X-Men are always going to be strange and different and persecuted. Always. To elevate one of the primary mutants (thank goodness its Cyclops and not some other characters with adamantium skeletons) to the presidency would of course result in the elevation of the anti-mutant rhetoric, which Furth handles expertly here. Key to this one-shot’s success is also Furth’s adherence to the ongoing continuity of the X-Books; Bendis’ new mutants, Shogo, even Beast’s new design all show up.
James Masters’ dynamic realism is reminiscent of the current Marvel house style. While it’s not particularly experimental or innovative, Masters’ sequences are expertly laid out and his lines are clear. Despite the frequent crowd scenes and the escalating violence in each panel, the action is always perfectly decipherable and engaging.
Worth a look. Fans of the X-Men will get a kick out of this alternate future (that doesn’t seem too unreasonable, honestly) for our mutant heroes. Robin Furth and James Masters deliver a classic X-story that hits all the right notes, and it’s part of a series that doesn’t even exist yet! Check it!