Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: July 24, 2019
Well, the big book is here and while I have been looking forward to it since it was announced, I have also been a bit wary of reviewing it. I am not the
biggest Jonathan Hickman fan out there and while I have been trying my damndest to latch on to the X-Men, Marvel has made it an uphill battle recently. I have tended to enjoy the side books a little more than the flagship titles, but I am hoping that changes right here, right now. Before I go on quoting more Jesus Jones songs, let’s get to the review…
The issue opens with a bit of birth, a catchphrase and very subtle and deliberate first act that throws you into the deep end of the pool and lets you decide if you want to sink or swim all on your own.
I am not a political guy and a lot of times any politics in a book are a turnoff, however, the X-Men have always had a political undertone to it and the idea of Xavier offering the World a deal to secure his mutants a rightful place in the world is very intriguing. What makes it more intriguing is that the tone of it all is very “Magneto”…and that’s who the assembled leaders end up dealing with.
The issue centers around the Island habitat of Krakoa and Hickman gradually gives us a bit more details about it, but like most of what we get in this #1, he makes sure to leave a lot of mystery on the table to make you want more.
We then head off to an extended middle section dealing with The Forge… pretty much a sun-powered mutant doomsday preppers space station. I am sure that Hickman will expand on everything here, but as I read this bit, I was pretty bored. Don’t kill me because I didn’t love everything about this issue, but this part really fell flat for me.
However, despite that (or maybe because of it) the remainder of the issue kicked total ass! I think it’s mainly because Hickman buckles down for some awesome character moments with some great characters. He also shows you the solidarity going on within the mutant community that puts this whole series on a higher plane immediately.
If there is one scene that has me pumped, it’s Cyclops dealing with the Fantastic Four. Hickman does so much with the characters by not doing much at all. The awkward silences, the dialogue that is pretty much shit-talking through smiles and handshakes actually floored me. Cyclops comes off as such a badass threat by just being there and the whole exchange ends with a mic drop by Scott and seeing it through the clenched fists of Sue and Reed made it that much better. Seriously, there are a lot of writers at the big two that should just study this whole exchange before they go off and overwrite every scene they touch!
The issue ends with Magneto showing everyone that the mutants will carry on with their plan whether the rest of the world wants them to or not…though Xavier would prefer the former. It’s not as subtle as the previous scene, but the tone and idea that you know Magneto is holding back makes it a different kind of subtle.
Yea, I am all in with Hickman’s X-Men. That doesn’t mean I think this is a perfect issue…even though parts of it were. The deliberate opening and the overlong middle section bring my score down, but there is still so much to like here. Pepe Larraz’s art is great and Hickman comes out of the gate with a book that feels big and important.
This is the X-Men book I’ve been waiting for since starting the site and podcast. It’s not perfect, but it’s damn near close.