Thursday, 2 June 2011

New Beginnings - Giant Size X-Men

Evolution is a very strange thing. Charles Darwin has proposed that it is a process that is continually moving forward for the best. A natural course of action that occurs through adaptation to the surrounding environments. So what happens if you aren’t the strongest or the fittest? What if there was a threat to your natural survival? In what is an interesting - possibly paradoxical - crossover, Marvel is set to explore this in its new X-men arc.

Christopher Yost has taken over at the helm of this arc and has used a nice vehicle to introduce it all as well. The story is a crossover with, essentially, itself, but through time.

As a scene setting piece Yost opens with a narrative. Watching from the dawn of time, in two short pages we jump straight into a pivotal moment in Man's evolution. The witnessing of Homo Sapiens “arrival” and fatal natural selection almost taking place if it wasn’t for the mysterious narrators stepping in and saving the species. Now, this has little meaning for the majority but give it time...

In a similar situation we now see Scott struggling as the new 'infant' against the Neo. After seeking a peaceful resolution Scott breaks down, which unlocks protected memories from when the First Class were a team. This leads to the introduction of the Evolutionaries, the reason behind mutantkind's biological prosperity, and now potentially the end.

The other crossover element is the artwork. By crossing the timelines the door is opened for both the past and present to be in the foreground, but a clever move has been made, by using separate artists to represent the different timelines. Paco Medina is the artist for the 'now' with Dalbor Talajic penciling the 'then'. Medina has a good clean style, which is modern and easy to view. He does occasionally border on a cartoonesque Ramos style but this seems to only be in moments of shock. With the action in the front he also doesn’t neglect the background. Although they may not be filled with intricate artwork they do have subtle yet suiting details, which supports each frame well.

Talajic, on the other hand, has a much harder job. Whilst he may be a well-known artist from Hit Monkey and Deadpool, in this issue he is required to draw in a style not completely his own, so it looks like the original comics. He does a great job whilst also making his own mark on the art too. There is a lot more emotion displayed in his work. Maybe a little too much occasionally but he certainly conveys the feelings over every individual in each frame very well.

Although X-Men are not my normal comics of choice this was still a good issue to read. Yost’s story is yet to develop further but the premise set in this first issue is a good strong one. I think the only reason I wouldn’t consider following it would simply be that I’m not an X-Men fan and that’s the only reason. It’s not one to introduce new fans easily but it is still provides a very meaty hook for any reader to get caught on.

Matt Puddy naturally selected his pull list. True story.

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