Review: ‘X-Men’ #1 Mutates The Marvel Universe’s Definition Of Superheroes

by Tony Thornley

Two years ago this month, the definition of what being mutant meant to the Marvel Universe was changed forever. With the world-building that’s happened between then and now, the X-Men are completely different than what they once were. And in X-Men #1, we get to see how and why that’s a good thing for the entire planet.

With this story, the X-Men have a new mission and a new purpose. These are the mutant heroes of the Krakoan age — the world’s greatest heroes! It comes from Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller.

The X-Men have returned to New York, determined to show the world that mutants are not boogeymen, but capable of being true heroes. That means a new base of operations, a new team, and a revised mission statement. Unfortunately, some of the grand gestures of Krakoa during the Hellfire Gala have attracted unwanted attention — both from humanity and the stars.

For the last two years, the X-Men line has been focused on doing something completely unlike what’s been done in the past. It has had everything from world-building books, to espionage stories, to tales of magic. But this series might be one of the more bold and fresh launches just by taking the basics of X-Men and giving it a very modern tone, exciting enemies, and absolutely incredible art.

Duggan sets the tone for this new direction right away by introducing one of the antagonists, then moving directly into setting the scene with the new X-Men team. It gives the series a sense of scale. Using Ben Urich as the bridge into the Marvel Universe, rather than someone like Captain America or Iron Man, makes the story feel grounded and centered in the wider universe. The issue continues on like that, establishing new threats while giving the team time to shine. It’s probably the most exciting new direction for the core X-Men title in a very long time (and with Inferno coming up, it’ll be a fascinating counterpoint and companion to that series).

Larraz and Gracia continue to prove again and again that they’re the best art team in comics right now. They have a great sense of scale in both the quiet and action-filled moments, with Larraz depicting amazing action and Gracia filling it with color. The designs are also incredible, particularly with the X-Bot and the villainous Cordyceps Jones. Any series where Larraz is simply allowed to go crazy with weird concepts is a good thing, and it’s clear from this issue that Duggan will give him plenty of opportunity to do so.

This is the book the line needs right now, especially after the missteps of the Hellfire Gala. I’m excited for the future again, even if it does look like a sentient fungus possessing the bones of a cosmonaut.

X-Men #1 is available now from Marvel Comics.

Overview

Marvel’s flagship mutant heroes relaunch as the X-Men return to the Marvel Universe in a big way. The story is fresh and exciting, packed full of great characterization and new ideas.  The art is absolutely incredible, with some great designs and stunning action.

Overall
9/10
9/10
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