Marc Guggenheim takes the helm of adjectiveless X-Men for a space-opera epic that seems well-timed to take advantage of Marvel’s cosmic push!
The plot is simple; S.W.O.R.D., the space equivalent of S.H.I.E.L.D., have recovered a critically-injured Deathbird. As she has ties to the X-Men, they call in our team of, well, X-Women, and we soon wind up with Deathbird’s enemies pursuing her…
All the way through, though, Guggenheim peppers the story with a tremendous amount of wit. It’s reminiscent of the Avengers movie, with sharp one-liners that give nice insights into the characters; for all the humour, very rarely do the heroes lose their sense of voice. For me, the stand-out was Jubilee, who shows as the least-experienced and yet still shines.
“I’m watching Game of Thrones in fifteen-minute increments here. I haven’t even reached the end of Season One.”
Meanwhile, the sense of humour is used to deepen the sense that we’re dealing with real people here; and yet it’s all done in a wonderfully metatextual way, with references to Star Trek (in a starfaring plot) and Game of Thrones (when dealing with an alien would-be queen who spent years grappling with her sister for the throne). That quality alone makes me smile.
The art is good, with the inkers in particular standing out (Ed Tadeo and Craig Yeung). Their use of colour is brilliant in creating a sense of contrast between the brightness of the world and the darkness of the Peak’s invasion. The single stand-out moment is above image, a brilliant piece of breathtaking art that’s steeped in X-Men history.
“I mean, I haven’t exactly kept up.”
That being said, I’m afraid I do have two criticisms. First is that this isn’t really ‘new-reader-friendly’ – although to be honest, I’m actually a bit tired of the assumption that every issue should be a first issue, and so I don’t particularly mind overmuch. The second, though, was picked up by Craig Black from the X-Men forum – on two occasions the art clearly depicts Jubilee using her fireworks, which, of course, she doesn’t have. What with the Cuckoos using telekinesis in this week’s All-New X-Men, this seems to have been a bad week for the editors.
All in all, though, still one of the stronger X-issues in a while. 4.5/5.