So who here, by a show of hands, fell in love with the X-Men team by watching the animated series in the nineties? Okay, pipe down X-Men hipsters, some of us started reading this stuff before Jim Lee had drawn even a single trench coat—not me, no I’m a nineties groupie whore. But my point was how well that series was put together. The team roles weren’t a thing set in stone. Yes, Cyclops was in charge most of the time but then Storm would get tired of his shit and fight Callisto with a lightsaber staff. This new series “X-Men” shares that formula and many others which make it a really successful and superior book.
One of the main topics for conversation on this book was how it was an all girls club. This was a really big deal in adverts; in fact the alternate cover is a bunch of girls in a tree house with a “No Boys” sign posted at the ladder. It really isn’t like that in the book; it’s more like one of Storm’s friends calls and needs a lift so she calls all her other friends to pile in the car and go pick her up. All of her friends just happen to be super hero mutant ladies. So while Storm is the one that put this mission together, she is by no means “Team Leader”—but this really wouldn’t be a problem because nobody has a problem with taking orders from a former Queen of Wakanda. During the pick-up, things go south and the team of ladies decide to improvise as opposed to letting Storm talk them through every step. There’s this fantastic sequence in the book where the train they are riding on short circuits and it kicks into high speed while locking all the doors. A brief moment of panic flickers over everyone until Rogue says, “Ain’t a problem, these things were made in like the seventies,” and then punches the door off the side of the train and soars out into the open air to stop the train.
So much of this book is classic throwback. The team has a great dynamic between Rogue and Storm—and also has Jubilee (is she still a vampire?) whose first appearance shows her sporting some bright pink sunglasses and a yellow coat under one arm. Not that I haven’t appreciated Kitty’s role in “Wolverine and the X-Men” but I missed her being a team player who kicks ass instead of her role as the Dean from “Animal House” who is always raging at Quentin Quire. Plus, she put on a classic blue and gold costume just like the old days. But not all costumes have stuck with the past.
I keep meaning to review an issue of “Uncanny X-Force” for many reasons, not least of all that Sam Humphries knows what he’s doing. But also that book took two characters whose looks were getting a bit stale and made their new costumes something very iconic. By a show of hands, how many remember Psylocke’s swim suit outfit? All of you raised your hands; do you wanna know why? Because nobody remembers the costume with the pink cape and cloak, they just remember that onesie with the high thigh cut (is she still Asian?) Storm hasn’t fared much better, she’s had something like a dozen different costumes since her days in XSE in the early 2000’s, none of which were memorable. You know what was memorable? The Mohawk. Guess what, it’s back. The pair now wear simple, sleek, and somewhat alluring suits with a white x emblazoned across the front.
It’s really easy to just say, “The new ‘X-Men’ book is more fun than a ‘Community’ paintball episode.” It’s the truth but I think the greater thing to pull away from this is that it is iconic. This is the kind of book that people will remember; this is the book that will pop to comic geeks’ minds when you say the name “X-Men”. But this article always has to come down to comparisons. How does this book stack up to “Invincible”? Is there finally a book greater than my precious “Invincible”? No. Here’s why: they cheated. Brian wood, one of the best comic writers; writing a book drawn by Olivier Coipel, who is single handedly responsible for making the term “Coipel Blue Eyes” stand for exquisite beauty; with a team composed of all my icons, the core members of the X-Men who actually kick ass. So as much as I would like to give this book a 100% A+, I’m instead forced to give it a lower grade for all those books that tried so very hard and came nowhere close.