Friday, May 31, 2013

Brand New Feature: X-Men #1 (Marvel Comics)

by Brian Wood, Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales, Laura Martin

A new X-Men number one issue. Written by Brian Wood. All female team. There were several new books out this week all in incredibly capable hands, but this new series from Wood and Coipel was not to be pushed aside for any other. Should the title be something else as there are no actual "men" on the team? Do we need another X-title? There are as many detractions from this book as there are highlights and maybe that's what makes it so exciting to open up.

Brian Wood has a very cold, factual writing style. It seems similar to Jonathan Hickman's plot-first writing style. The book opens with two separate events transpiring in overlaying panels. At the same time, Wood scripts a narration that describes an event that is both on a genetically microscopic level as well as a cosmic level at the same time. It is an excellent opening that sets the tone for a grand story. We are then slowly introduced to the main cast of characters through a strange situation unfolding.

Jubilation Lee, also known as Jubilee, is traveling with an infant and appears to be followed by a man in a suit. She reaches Grand Central and calls the X-Men at the Jean Grey School for help. Jubilee boards a train for West Chester and several X-Men head off to meet up with her in hopes to end this threat. Meanwhile, the mysterious man arrives at the school, ahead of Jubilee and surrenders himself, requesting an audience to explain his presence.

The book ties back to its ominous opening and the three separate pieces all align for a stunning finish. Wood's aim is high and his shot is on the mark. This opening chapter never feels calculated despite it being billed as an all female team. Instead, the characters present feel natural for the situation that has arisen. Storm, Rachel Grey, Kitty, Psylocke and Rogue all have been gaining momentum across the other X-books and Jubilee takes center stage as the focus and catalyst of this new book. 

Likewise, the art is excellent. Just as the success of the new volume of Uncanny X-Force had a lot staked how gorgeous it has been to look at, Coipel is going to draw in readers before they are even aware of the plot. Avengers vs X-men's best looking issues came from under these same pencils and here readers are treated to the promise of an ongoing from that very talent.

The book has a minor annoyance in its layout of the title page disrupting a narration sequence, but ultimately this first issue of X-Men is incredibly strong. While Marvel was sure to assign top talent to the book, the direction it was taking was risky. X-Men before the "Now" relaunch was a forgotten book. However, Wood and Coipel are going to remind readers of it's existence.

Writing: 8/10
Art: 9/10
Overall: 8/10

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