At last, we finally have the first official X-Men book that takes place after Secret Wars. Extraordinary X-Men 1 begins 8 months after the new Marvel Universe begins, and the terrigen mist is causing mutants to get sick all over the world. Worse yet, something Cyclops did in the meantime has worsened hatred for Mutants to the point where soldiers point guns at harmless mutant children. It’s true that this new story arc makes a lot of X-fans nervous, and to be honest I’m one of them, but the X-Men are always at their best with their backs against the wall.
Written by Jeff Lemire, Extraordinary X-men begins with Storm sitting in the Jean Grey School’s main office, contemplating her options while the world goes mad. This issue proceeds to introduce each member of Lemire’s team in turn and in a variety of ways, whether it’s Jean Grey studying in University or Magik being awesome. The dialogue is well written, and it’s made clear that the last 8 months have been rough on everyone. The upside is that this is a fun issue to read. The downside is that it’s mostly setup.
There are glimpses of several story arcs that I’m sure will be explored deeper in the issues to come, but with the team scattered across the globe, it’ll probably be a few more issues before the team officially bands together. Old Man Logan doesn’t even appear until the last few pages, and without spoilers, there’s an odd line in his scene that raises further questions. With all that being said, I’m feeling optimistic about Lemire’s run so far.
The art by Humberto Ramos might be a bit of an acquired taste, but it’s good. The exaggerated, angular shapes on people’s faces make it easy to portray characters’ emotions and he does it well. There’s also a lot of detail in the environments, and in both Magic and Nightcrawler’s fight scenes, there’s a lot of beams and smoke when they use their respective powers. A bunch of younger X-Men make welcome cameos in the backgrounds. For me, the only complaint is that Colossus looks too big. Even in human form, his arms are three times as wide as his head. Whether or not you like Ramos’s pencils though, Edgar Delgato’s colouring is fantastic. It’s usually bright and always appealing to the eye. Magic’s powers tint everything blue when they’re in use. Colossus’s farm looks plain beautiful with all the green in the backgrounds. Nightcrawler’s scene alone is breathtaking with the variety of powers and characters present.
Although this is mostly an introduction issue, it’s enjoyable. There are several good action scenes that help keep the pace up, and the moment between Magic and Colossus is really nice. Honestly, Magic gets all the best scenes in this comic. It’s too early to tell whether Lemire’s run will be good, or whether the Terrigen mist story arc will feel different to the Decimation era, but the potential is certainly there. X-Men fans should at least give this a chance, and I’ll be giving this at least a few more issues to win me over.
Also I can’t help but notice there are two teleporters on this team that both happen to wield swords a lot of the time, Magik and Nightcrawler. I’m wondering if there’s a reason for this, and how Lemire will differentiate their roles on the team. This isn’t a complaint; it’s just something I’m curious about.