Robot 6

‘X-Men’ #1 finally hits comic shops — what did people think?

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The new X-Men title by Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel, which debuted Wednesday, has received a lot of attention for its all-female team. Honestly, when I heard the news, I didn’t find it surprising — in fact, I had to ask myself, “Is this really the first time we’ve had an all-female cast in the X-Men?” As an old-school Chris Claremont X-fan, I guess I’m used to characters like Storm, Rogue and Kitty Pryde having as much prominence on the team as Cyclops, Colossus and … yeah, I was going to put Wolverine there, but he’s always been in a class by himself due to his popularity. But you get where I’m coming from.

There were certainly X-Men stories where the women outnumbered the men during Claremont’s run — I’m thinking of an issue where Wolverine, Shadowcat, Rogue and Rachel Grey, I believe, were on a mission, and Wolverine turned leadership over to Kitty because he didn’t like being leader and she had “seniority” — but I can’t think of a time when they were male-less for a significant period. If someone pops up in our comments section to tell me otherwise, though, I won’t be surprised, because the X-franchise just seems like the natural place where this would happen. It’s notable that just about every one of the main characters in the book were co-created by Claremont, the only exception being Storm, who was actually created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum. But Claremont obviously put his stamp on the character in his long run on Uncanny X-Men.

But yeah, a female X-team? It’s been a long time coming, if indeed it has never occurred. But enough about the make-up of the team; how was the book itself? Here are a few opinions on the first issue from around the internet, and you can check out the CBR poll to see that almost half of respondents gave it five out of five stars:

Martin Gray, Too Dangerous for a Girl: “Wood’s script is uniformly excellent, giving us a sharp third person narration that introduces the X-Men and their world for any new readers. It’s professionalism with style, and I wish more comic book writers were so considerate of the readership. He’s equally adept at writing the heroes, as individuals and as members of the school faculty. And his handling of teamwork is a joy, as Rogue, Storm and Kitty stop a runaway train from killing its passengers. Plus, Wood gives us a subplot involving what’s bound to be more than simple teenage rivalry. As he says in the lettercol, this is his highest profile launch to date, and on this showing he’s well up to it.”

Greg Burgas, Comics Should Be Good!: “Technically, this is a perfectly fine first issue. The pacing is fine, nothing drags, and Wood uses a fairly standard template to make sure he gets everything in that he wants to, including the Mercury/Bling subplot. Coipel is a pretty standard superhero artist, so everything looks nice and non-threatening – it’s unremarkable art, sure, but it gets the job done (although I’m not sure about Psylocke’s pose when she’s on the roof – is that weird, or is it me?). There’s nothing really wrong with the issue.

“But … there’s not anything that’s really, for lack of a better word, right about it, either. It’s bland. There’s nothing that says ‘This is a Brian Wood comic,’ which is – in my humblest opinion – really the only reason to read superhero comics these days – to read what individual voices have to say about the characters.”

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Vince Ostrowski, Multiversity Comics: “There’s a lot of talk about comics becoming cinematic. Whether that’s generated from an idea that superhero comics in the modern age tend to unfold in big, sprawling action panels or the idea that something on the pages could be something that would easily translate into a viable story for the silver screen, the fact is that the idea of a comic being “cinematic” can easily create an image in the mind’s eye. “X-Men” #1 has a train-centric action set-piece at its center that is so spectacular and yet so utterly practical in concept that it would make for a highly thrilling film sequence. Yes, this is a comic, but the point is that it’s an impressive feat when a sequence so effortlessly accomplishes something in a static medium that you could immediately see captivating a general audience in a motion picture. That’s a mark of synergy between writer and artist that is special.” (9.6/10)

Don MacPherson, Eye on Comics: “There’s a lot to like about Coipel’s artwork here. I enjoy his lithe, slender figures. The women aren’t overly buxom, and the younger girls actually look like… well, younger girls. I like the confident, punk Storm and the grim look he brings to Psylocke. But here’s the truth of the matter when it comes to the art: I don’t know what’s going on. The opening scene — featuring Jubilee and the baby making their way through an airport and onto a plane, as an impossibly handsome guy follows them — is quite confusing. At first, I thought Mr. Machismo was Jubilee, somehow disguised with a holographic device or something. We never really see him following her; they’re never both in the same panel in the airport and airplane sequences. It’s only a few pages later when the script clears up the pursuit that I got what was meant to be conveyed in the artwork. We’re also told there’s a critical moment when one train is barreling toward another, but it’s not clearly demonstrated in the visuals.” (3/10)

Brandon Borzelli, Geek Goggle Reviews: “Coipel’s art is fantastic. The artwork is detailed but gets away from the curvy female look we so commonly see in super hero books. Instead the art looks like people in ordinary life might look in terms of their anatomy. There is some action and the artwork hits some high and low notes making for a mix. I wasn’t thrilled with the train ride depiction as I found too much to be missing in the panel transitions. Overall, it’s a beautiful book.” (3.5/5)

Kelly Thompson, Comic Book Resources: “All in all, Wood and Coipel have delivered the definitive superhero relaunch with “X-Men” #1. Teeming with powerful, fascinating characters, enticing action, a smart villain, high stakes and stunning visuals, X-Men #1 is on the short list for best superhero book of the year, and in a year full of strong contenders, that is no small thing.” (5/5)

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Comments

7 Comments

Jake Earlewine

May 31, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Just read X-Men #1 and loved it. Of all five X-Men, my favorite is Cyclops — “Slim” Summers. And Magneto is a great villain and has the potential to become the third ranking villain of all time (after Dr. Doom and the Red Skull).

The X-Men! Another smash success from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby! I predict this comic book will go far!

Coipel’s art was gorgeous. More than usual.

I liked it a lot. An old school X-Men feel in story, script and art (Coipel reminds me of Silvestri a bit). 8.5/10.

So to preface my comment. I really liked this comic but didn’t love it. It was an extremely good first issue, but as with every first issue of an arc there’s only so much you can do story-wise. This one did what it was supposed to and I enjoyed it a great deal. I am, however really looking forward to reading it again once the whole story’s been released and I can read it all together.

One of the things I did think was interesting though was how the pre-release publicity and analysis of the whole “women-only” team affected my how I read the book. Had I not seen any of that information I’m not 100% certain I would have noticed that fact. There was no question I was buying the book (it has “X” in the title and I have a comic book problem). However, reading the book with that pre-release info left me reading it partially with the “is this written well,” “are the characters being drawn naturally or inappropriately,” and probably a half-dozen other subconscious questions.

The reason I’m not sure I would have noticed is that the cast is an all-star cast of some of the best X-men regardless of gender (the only truly “B” level character in the book is Rachel, and since she’s one of my favorites from her Excalibur days I was just excited to see her on the team). It’s not like this is an Avengers book, or a Justice League book, where they’d need to start pulling from the “C” level characters to build a balanced roster out of female characters (with several of the more iconic possibilities potentially being blah-girl variants).

Plus I think I would have just been happy to have an X-book without Wolverine!

“to see that almost half of respondents gave it five out of five stars:”

thats because people also think avatar is the greatest movie ever.

Matt Halteman

June 3, 2013 at 8:31 am

No, mckracken, I sincerely doubt you’ll come across many people who actually think that. But you will encounter many who feel it was an exciting, well-crafted adventure story, which it was. Same situation with X-Men #1. Instead of simply being a vague contrarian, why don’t you tell us exactly what you did not like about the book?

Um… Did they just have the X-Men casually kill a train full of passengers without so much as an ‘oh well’??

They saved the train they were on, but to do so they violently derailed another, oncoming train. I gather that Rogue went over to the other train and yanked it off the tracks to avoid collision, but seriously, there was no mention at all weather or that train had passengers.

At best, that’s extremely sloppy storytelling that is pretty foreboding tot he title, at worse it demonstrated a casual disrespect for life I wouldn’t even expect out of the worst villains…

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