One of the more highly anticipated titles of Marvels recent NOW! initiative, X-Men boasts a team comprised of the mighty mutants heaviest hitters. Whats even better is that they are all women. Written by the up and coming Brian Wood (who also writes Marvel’s “Ultimate Comics: X-Men”) & drawn by Olivier Coipel (mostly know for his work in event comics such as House of M & most recently AvX), does this book live up to hype? In a word: Hell Yes! (ok that’s two words)
Here is the summary from Marvel:
Because you demanded it! The X-Women finally get their own book, from critically acclaimed superstars Brian Wood (X-MEN, ULTIMATE X-MEN, DMZ, The Massive) and Olivier Coipel (AVX, HOUSE OF M, THOR)! An old enemy shows up at the X-Men’s door, seeking asylum from an ancient evil come back to earth. Meanwhile, Jubilee has come home, and she’s brought with her an orphaned baby who might hold the key to the earth’s survival…or its destruction. Against a backdrop of what seems like an alien invasion and an eons-spanning war between brother and sister, Storm steps up and puts together a team to protect the child and stop a new threat that could destroy all life on earth!
The X-Men’s resident vampire, Jubilee, is heading towards the Jean Grey school and she’s not alone. Carrying a baby with her, she leaves her friends a cryptic message about a man following her and boards a train towards the school. Fearing for her safety; Storm, Rogue, & Shadowcat catch up to and board the train she is currently on, the girls make up for lost time but the train suddenly malfunctions sending them on a collision course with another train at top speed. Meanwhile at the Jean Grey school, the man revealed to be following Jubilee is John Sublime, he surrenders on the school grounds and is later interrogated by Rachel Grey & Psylocke. While captured he starts to reveal horrible details about the baby Jubilee is caring for.
Brian Wood certainly knows what he is working with in this book. Each character acts as you expect them too, acting more like a family than a team. Even with a cast as numerous and historical as this one, Wood manages all of them very well even managing to squeeze in a few cameos here and there. He appeals to both old fans as well as new ones and doesn’t rely on handfuls of exposition to introduce characters (actually he doesn’t use any at all), instead letting his cast flesh each other out making the reading much more natural. John Sublime himself is used well here, nothing really stands out about the guy but his presence is deifinitely essential to set the events in motion. The baby is an adorable troublemaker and Jubilee is shown to be a pretty capable mother and the others also take a shine to the infant (accept for Mr. Sublime).
The dynamics of the group is also nice to look at here. From Storm, Rogue, & Shadowcat engaging in friendly banter on the way to and on the train as they try to stop it, to Rachel & Psylocke having a psychic pow wow while they figure out what to do with Sublime (Psylocke even channeling her inner Hawkeye when she points a psychic bow and arrow at Sublime from the roof). This shows that they all know how to work together and coordinate tactics for nearly any situation.
Olivier Coipel always gives stunning visuals and this book is certainly no exception. Each character is detailed beautifully and the environments are nice to look at. The ladies themselves are distinct with their own varied looks and mannerisms, Wood & Coipel balance each other well with Coipel being able to keep up with Woods engaging script. Laura Martin’s colors also help catch the eye, popping in the right places.
X-Men #1 is damn good starting issue to what looks to be one of Marvels best titles. The team is effective & engaging, the threat is real, and the dialogue is witty with some moments of drama and tension thrown in as well to balance it out. The art is stunning and as the whole the book is the epitome of a relaunch. I highly recommend this title and eagerly look forward to issue 2.