Thursday, 13 October 2011

New Beginnings - X-Men Regenesis

At the end of Schism a desperate situation forced an even more desperate solution which went against everything the X-Men and Charles Xavier ever stood for. With both Cyclops and Wolverine not able to make it to the location a young mutant named Idie was guided through steps that saved hundreds but also killed.

This was the wedge that became driven between Cyclops and Wolverine which has now given birth to new teams sharing opposing ideals.

The line has been drawn in the sand and it is now time for mutants, and essentially some readers, to choose a side and stand for what they believe in. Keiron Gillen brings us the one-shot Regenesis.

As first impressions go I have to admit I was wary. The cover artwork is by Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend and not my cup of tea at all. (And yet you like the horrors perpetrated upon comic art by Ramos?! BF) It’s loose and cartoony and filled with limbs that are disproportionate with some characters. (Exactly my problem with the 'artwork' Ramos vomits onto our comics! Seriously, I am hating Spider-Island right now! Anyway, I digress, though I should definitely butt in more often! BF) But also on the cover is something I also like the look of, the names Gillen and Tan.

In essence this one-shot is completely about who goes where. With some of the well known team members being approached by Scott or Logan, there is more of an accompanying story. With others it is more of a flash frame and a small quip. As a result it does mean that if you were a new reader then you have to simply accept what is put in front of you with little understanding of why they are saying what they have said.

Most interestingly I found was that for a comic that is trying to show a monumental shift in the X-Men world fairly, you also found a lot of focus was through Wolverine’s eyes. Not that this was a bad thing, but it does almost give a biased feeling towards it all. It does give an open question at the end of “Whose side are you on?” to try and redress the balance.

The most exciting thing for me has to be Billy Tan’s work though. It would have been very easy to have drawn a straight forward strip that simply followed the team creation process.

Instead Tan has, from the very first page, given a raw and primal almost ceremonial imagery to support Gillen’s writing. It makes a big enough impact that you almost don’t notice the complete contradiction that it makes by saying, “This is not a fight,” whilst showing a brutal brawl running through the whole comic too. Moving from this almost dream like state to a crisp and clean strip held in the present punctuates the story very well. There are a few changes here and there made to people such as Colossus which don’t look quite right but this is because it’s a new take and something different. Ultimately it got me interested in what I was reading and seeing which is a very positive thing.

As a one-shot I think that this is well aimed at fans of the X-Men as well as anyone who has followed Schism to its natural conclusion. For anyone looking to pick it up it’s a good grounding as well but worth going back to read Schism first. For me, as someone who doesn’t really follow the X-men, it was still a good read and I’m interested in seeing how the new titles pan out. Some more than others. So who or how do you decide? Read and find out.

Matt Puddy is firmly part of Team Wolverine after reading this

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