Extraordinary X-Men #1: A New Era For Mutantkind!

For the last month, All-New All-Different Marvel comics have hinted and teased at the fate of the mutant race.  Finally, in Extraordinary X-Men #1, we get our glimpse of the present state of mutantkind – but does it disappoint?

Extraordinary X-Men #1 opens with Storm, brooding in the mysterious X-Haven.  It’s a nice tool to help us dive straight into the X-Men’s new context, as she reflects on the dangers now facing the mutant race.  From there, we jump to one of Magik’s missions; as X-Haven’s best teleporter, Magik is working to rescue mutants from persecution, but this particular situation is getting worse.  So Storm makes a decision: she needs to recruit some key team members.

Storm Extraordinary X-Men 1

First on the list is Jean Grey, and Storm gives Jean the mental lowdown that we saw in the Extraordinary X-Men previews.  But Jean is trying to live a ‘normal’ life, and – after the still-unrevealed events with Cyclops – she doesn’t want ‘in’ on the superhero gig again.

From there, we jump to Colossus, who seems to have retired back on his parents’ farm.  He’s back in.  Then there’s a tremendously fun scene setting up a Nightcrawler plot, before Storm meets up with her most surprising team-member – Old Man Logan!

First of all, I have to say (again) that I’m not entirely sold on the idea of the eight-month time-jump.  That said, the X-books are using it in a clever way, to move the story into a position of high drama.  Jeff Lemire is an exceptionally good writer, and he captures the characters really well.  This is clearly going to be an X-Men run that’s high-stakes but also high on characterisation, which is fine by me.

Magik Smiles Extraordinary X-Men 1

Meanwhile, Humberto Ramos (on pencils) and Victor Olazaba (on inks) are a perfect team.  I’m particularly impressed by their work on facial expressions; everyone seems beautifully human, none more so than Magik, whose emotions – from rage to joy – are displayed for all to see.  Ramos and Olazaba were made for this book, and Edgar Delgado’s coloring is top-rate.  I particularly love a splash-page where Storm discusses her fears with… well, I don’t really want to spoil that scene!

It’s a promising issue, but I confess that I remain troubled; the return to an extinction plot just isn’t quite what I wanted to see from the X-Men.  That said, Lemire is clearly a top-notch writer, and I’m very much hopeful that he has a tremendous story to tell.  I do have two closing points, though:

First of all, when did Jean Grey begin to be seen as the living epitome of Xavier’s Dream?  I most definitely don’t view Jean as embodying it; indeed, at time the opposite has been the case (in his Morrison Manifesto, Grant Morrison described his portrayal of Jean as a god who was trying to remember what it meant to be human).  Given some of her actions during Brian Bendis’ All-New X-Men run, I’m less than persuaded teen Jean is an embodiment of the Dream either.

Secondly, I’m curious about where X-Haven is situated.  My money’s on the Himalayas, continuing the idea of the Inhumans forcing the mutants out of the equation; after all, the Inhumans themselves originally lived in the Himalayas, separated from humanity and unnoticed.

X-Haven Extraordinary X-Men 1

All in all, this was a good issue, a strong debut, and promises a good run.  I’m still not convinced about the overall ‘X-Men / Inhumans’ concept running through Marvel’s books right now, but with this team in charge, we’re sure to see some real classic issues.

I’d give it 4 out of 5.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Adam says:

    X-Haven could be in another dimension

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    1. True, and Bleeding Cool think it is, but I’m not persuaded yet. It’d actually make sense to have them in the Himalayas – from a scientific perspective, Terrigen Mist seems to be heavier than air, which means the higher the altitude, the lower the Terrigen levels.

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  2. David says:

    I don’t understand how you can blame teen Jean for her actions in ‘All-New X-Men’. She was shown her entire life and the deaths that she’s going to come upon, and it terrifies her, what 16 year old is going to act rational when learning you’re going to die not once but twice? At least she apologized and felt bad about her actions, give her break.

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    1. I actually really liked Bendis’ interpretation – just don’t think she’s perfect! 😀

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