For months now, readers have known that the game changing House of X and Powers of X would lead into a relaunch of Marvel Comics’ flagship X-Men series. However, those two series didn’t quite prepare anyone for what was to come in X-Men #1.
Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Sunny Gho, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller kick off the Dawn of X.
The X-Men have found and eliminated what they believe to be the last of the Orchis Protocol in a facility that was experimenting on mutant children (as well as one VERY intriguing non-mutant). The strike team returns to Krakoa triumphant, but still wary of what they found (and rightfully so as Orchis is stills scheming away in their Mother Mold facility). That doesn’t mean that Cyclops avoids the opportunity for some R&R with his family in their home on the moon…
Using a veteran artistic team to launch the series was the right call. Yu, Alanguilan and Gho have been operating as a team for so long that they’re able to step right in like they never left. Their action is bombastic and dynamic, taking advantage of the differences in the starring characters to layout the pages. They make sure to highlight each of the heroes, and makes them feel grand and heroic.
They ably shift gears in the second half of the issue, creating a quiet and funny family reunion, mixing the X-Men and Starjammers together through their common link of the Summers clan. The only downside to it is the depiction of Rachel Summers, whose wide eyes and overly stoic demeanor stands out and feels off.
Hickman’s story leaves no stone unturned, mining X-Men history as well as introducing new concepts. He dives into Cyclops’ history in several ways, from an emotional flashback to the first time he wore his trademark glasses to his history with his father and brothers. Even his friendship with Storm and Polaris- two of his oldest relationships that seldom get page time- is used to create an emotional core to the story. It’s packed with the classic soap opera elements that made the X-Men such a beloved franchise.
However, that’s not all to the story. We see more of the Orchis Protocol, establishing more of the villainous group and introducing us to their leader, Devo. We are reintroduced to the Children of the Vault, a mid-2000’s concept that hasn’t been mentioned since their creator- Mike Carey- left the X-Men line after completing his years-long story. We get teases into the mentality of Magneto and Storm. It’s a dense and complex story, that feels satisfying and leaves you wanting more.
The Dawn of X is off to a great start with this issue. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
X-Men #1 is available now from Marvel Comics.