Comic Review: X-Men #1
Brian Wood has been on a roll lately. Already doing phenomenal writing on Star Wars, Conan, The Massive and more, I wondered whether taking on another series might mean he was spreading himself a too thin. Amazingly then I can confidently say X-Men 1 feels like it’s had the same care and attention paid to it as the rest.
The X-Men books have a very convoluted busy backstory. They’ve also seen a number of radical shakeups in the last few years, so I was concerned that this issue might be a little difficult to dive into. Said worries turned out to be entirely unfounded as the plot is perfectly easy to follow. Familiarity with the characters and status quo is obviously a plus but it’s certainly not necessary. Cleverly Wood shows what each team member can do without having them blatantly introduce who they are. In a similar fashion there are little nuggets of information scattered across the issue that fill you in on the state of things. It’s all worked so naturally into the story that it never intrudes on the plot.
As for the plot itself it utilises an older X-Men story but doesn’t rely on any information that’s not quickly re-established. The bulk of the tale follows Jubilee making her way back to the X-Men, a trip that ends up being more eventful than she’d like. One of the things that stood out to me is that it really felt like an X-Men story. There was a real sense of a family dynamic between the characters. The close bonds of the characters is something that’s always set X-Men apart. While the Avengers are a team, the X-Men are family, so it’s definitely welcome that Wood has brought that theme to this new story.
Oliver Coipel’s art is as excellent as expected with his ever so slightly stylised characters. But it’s the action scenes where he really shines. The panels are full of energy, it really feels like you’re catching glimpses of an ongoing dangerous hectic situation. However, I have to mention that I felt his work was a little bit weaker than usual with a couple of panels looking a tad rushed. But it’s a minor complaint amongst a very well drawn issue overall. Laura Martin’s colours are the perfect partner to Coipel’s art. It really brings his work to life with bright sharp colours.
Altogether X-Men 1 is a worthwhile package, whether you’ve been with the X-Men for years or you’ve never even met them before. There were some mumblings around its announcement that the all female case might be a gimmick, thankfully it comes across as nothing of the sort. The fact that the cast are all women can be brushed off as simply a coincidence. When reading you don’t notice, you simply just know you’re reading about a team of well written compelling characters. Which is of course how things should be. I hope X-Men 1 is a sign of things to come: when a book can be led by all female characters and simply focus on just telling a story, not stuck dwelling on the gender of its leads.