Thursday, 15 November 2012

New Beginnings - All New X-Men #1 (MARVEL NOW)

This week, as part of Marvel Now, we finally have the new X-Men comic that has been advertised for quite a while with a new campaign built around the retro image on the front cover.

Whilst on that subject it is worth mentioning that the cover, brought by Grawbadger, Immonen and Gracia together may not look totally enticing but give it a shot as it’s a double spread opening up with the back page too making it a whole world better! Although I have to admit that my favourite is the back page.

Here's the wrap cover from issue #1, plus the start of the cover for issue #2...

The story is a continuation from the AvX arc but starts with a very different scene. Beast is struggling, his mutation on the verge of changing once again. Will this be once too many? Even he doesn’t know. It’s a tense double page spread which leaves the reader hanging for the rest of the issue (and beyond) meaning all the time there is a cliffhanger waiting to drop.

Bendis then radically changes the scene to another new mutation, where following on from the Phoenix force’s reawakening of the X-gene, another new mutant emerges in the midst bustling nightlife. For her it’s confusing and new - she can’t even believe it in herself - but for the fugitive Cyclops he knows exactly what is going on and in his mind he believes he knows how to handle it.

Although this comic is essentially about finding new mutants and the repercussions it is creating, there’s also a significant amount of “evolution” tying in with the Join the Revolution theme of Marvel Now. As mentioned before there is Beast, followed by the new kids but perhaps even more sinister is Scott’s evolution. Here we have the man who has finally stepped out of Charles Xavier’s shadow not to fulfil his dream but now resembling the political stance and actions of Magneto more than ever.

But it is for these actions that the second act of the comic is created. In an attempt to fix things, and undoubtedly himself too in the process, Beast breaks the time continuum to visit the first X-Men to bring them back in an attempt to stop Scott’s radical stance.

The dilemma it poses is layered in multiple ways so that it will be a hard thing to refuse.

The visuals are brought to us by Stuart Immonen and inked by the fabulously named Wade Von Grawbadger. It’s vibrant and capturing but often also has a colour wash running through an entire double page spread to hold it all together. I especially liked the pages where Eva’s mutant ability manifests. I just like how it looks and I can’t quite put my finger on why! One thing that can be said is that Immonen is very good at conveying emotion through facial expressions and takes care to involve everyone in the frame. It doesn’t always have all of the detail in the world but then again I don’t feel it needs it either.

I’ll be the first to admit that in my comic world bubble the X-Men are not my first choice of comic to read, however, I was really surprised by the content of this new start. There is definitely a new feel to it and the story has matured, coming a long way in its time so I found it personally enjoyable to read.

As a new start for a completely blank reader it would work, although there would be a great deal of questions posed. This has been restarted from where things were left so there is no quirky reworks or story alterations to make things fit. As a way of jumping into the pool, it's a welcoming dive into the deep end.

Matt Puddy is off to another continent and will return in two weeks.

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