Reviewed by: Brett “Legs” Israel
To say I went into this book with hesitation would be an understatement. The original adjective-less X-Men title from the early 1990’s is one of my favorites, and those first few issues are some I always find myself revisiting. That being said, when the book relaunched under the Marvel Now initiative, I stuck on the book for art alone, finding the writing and characters to be a little too detached. I decided, however, to pick up this latest with G Willow Wilson, coming off the critical darling that is Ms. Marvel, taking over writing duties. Also, Roland Boschi, who I loved on Winter Soldier: The Bitter March, was jumping on penciling duties. While not the perfect issue, Wilson is looking to be a nice fit.
Gambit being the center of the opening scene started the issue on a sour note for me, as I strongly dislike the character in most stories. Thankfully, Wilson pushed right through this and got to the meat of the story, seeing Storm and her team (Rachel Summers, Psylocke, and Monet) go up against a storm super-cell. Meanwhile, Krakoa, the grounds of the Jean Grey School, appears to have fallen ill, and Jubilee and Beast go to Krakoa’s aid. While this is a little sparse, we are also given a great piece of character work between Storm and Wolverine in her mind. Wolverine, as most reading comics know, has just died. This is where Wilson shows how far she’s come as a writer over the past few years, and how she understands not only this relationship, but also what makes X-Men comics so fun. Even though there are huge fights and galactic size conflicts, X-Men comics, ever since Chris Claremont, have been all about the interplay of the team, and the soap opera type nature of the book. This small scene cuts right down to the core of Storms character, how while she display’s a strong, holier than thou attitude outwardly, inwardly she is still has scars from a hard life, riddled with strife and a battle against claustrophobia. In this scene, Wolverine tells her words of wisdom in terms of dealing with the problem, which I don’t want to spoil, because this makes the book worth the price. If we get more of these personal moments, I think Wilson may have another hit on her hands, and I truly feel that the sky’s the limit for her.
In terms of the art, while I certainly see bits of the Boschi I love, it was a little inconsistent from page to page. I noticed that when this issue was solicited, the artist was TBD, so I’m hoping Boschi was just on-board a little later and this issue got a little jumbled due to that. Since the next set of issues have had him solicited from jump, I will definitely look past that for this issue. All that being said, the pages that looked like the Boschi I know and love looked killer. He has a hard to describe style, kind of like Gerry Brown but with lighter blacks and more defined figure work. His character work in the smaller moments conveyed the scene tonally very well, and he seems to be a great fit for it going forward.
Even though it wasn’t the meatiest read ever, it was definitely a fun one with an interesting cliffhanger, and the creative team seems to really get the source material. Add it to the ever growing stack.
4 super-cells out of 5