Writers: Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Colors: Triona Farrell
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Marvel just can’t seem to help themselves. Less than four months into their wonderful Uncanny X-Men relaunch they have already mired the mutant franchise into a crossover event. Now to be fair, the X-Men are pioneers when it comes to the crossover event and they usually do a stellar job, but it feels to soon. It does not help that their newest crossover, which began with this week’s Age of X-Man: Alpha #1 is yet another riff on the ‘90s classic X-Men line redefining the Age of Apocalypse. Marvel has revisited this dystopian world time and time again since the original series of mini-series. Yet this new incarnation, the Age of X-Man, turns the script and rather than an apparent dystopian nightmare the world has become a mutant utopian paradise, at least on the surface but in the world of the X-Men rarely are things truly as they originally appear.
Over the course of the first eleven issues of the new Uncanny X-Men AKA Disassembled the readers have witnessed Nate Grey, the X-Man, wage battle with the newly assembled X-Men to craft a utopian paradise where mutants are free of prejudice and bigotry. In Uncanny X-Men #11 he was apparently successful, which leads the reader directly to Age of X-Man: Alpha #1 where X-Man’s dream has been achieved. Age of X-Man: Alpha #1 is an introduction to this new world, a world where everyone is a mutant and the biggest concern is when powerful new mutants cause dangerous situations while manifesting their abilities. This is how the issue opens as X-Man and the mostly familiar faces of his team arrive in a peaceful town frozen in time. It is quickly deduced that it is the result of a new mutant who is calmed by X-Man and handed off to Angel at the Summers Institute for new mutants where they are trained to be productive members of society. It’s only after this incident that we truly begin to understand this new world and the purpose of this book, which is simply to set up the series of mini-series that will comprise the Age of X-Man. Writers Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler use a series of vignettes to reveal that there is a lot more going on here than what is initially revealed. Some of these vignettes are interesting, such as the movie star Nightcrawler or an X-Tremist police faction that included Iceman and Psylocke or a psychedelic Apocalypse and his flower children which are hinted at in the issue, but none of these vignettes have a true conclusion. That is the real weakness of Age of X-Man: Alpha #1 is that it’s all set up with no payoff. If you want the payoff you need to go and purchase the mini-series over the course of the next few months. Now this isn’t a new phenomenon when it comes to comics and specifically the X-Men but it feels to soon. The X-Men have struggled over the past few years and now that they have positive momentum going in their favor it seems too soon to jump into this type of event. I’d rather that Marvel focus their attention on the Uncanny X-men title (which will continue parallel to this event) and their marvelous new X-Force rather than rushing into this type of crossover that can quickly turn off new and old readers alike.
As a comic book Age of X-Man: Alpha #1 is a nice issue. The writing of Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler is well done with great pacing which is necessary for an introductory story that is setting up a far grander tale. The opening sequence is fun and interesting, as are some of the vignettes. I was particularly intrigued by the X-Tremist police faction and their interest in the love life of mutants. I wasn’t interested in continuing with any of the mini-series after this issue, rather waiting until the entire event is concluded and collected before reading it but these few pages in the issue really drew me in enough that I will probably check it out. Ramon Rosanas artwork was lovely. It was soft and peaceful, which fit with the theme of this utopian society but what action there was is dynamic and fun. Ramon’s style is a true departure of the X-Men Crossover’s of days past but is really beautiful here and amplified by the bright color palate of Trional Farrell which was an excellent fit for Ramon Rosanas’ artwork here.
Verdict: Age of X-Man: Alpha #1 is great first issue for the latest X-Men crossover event, if you are ready for another X-Men crossover event. If you are on board and want to dive back into another massive Mutant Event then this is a Buy for you. If you’re happy with just sticking with Uncanny X-Men luckily that comic will stay on the stands and not be suspended during the Age of X-Man, so every mutant fan can be satisfied.