Writer: David Hine
Artists: Yanick Paquette (p), Serge LaPointe (i), Stephane Peru (colors)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
I tell you, the verbal tension between Bishop and Cyclops alone is worth buying Civil War: X-Men #1! As the cover indicates, each is on different sides when it comes to super-hero registration, and it looks like a battle between the two is coming in this series. I will say this about David Hine: He loves him some Bishop! From District X through Mutopia X, he has always maintained a focus on the mutant cop, making him into a solidly developed anti-hero. Civil War: X-Men is no different, as Bishop is the most examined character in this issue and given a lot of screen time to inform the others of his position in the conflict. He believes that order must be maintained within the mutant community, which means the only logical solution is registration. It’s no surprise he would feel this way after his experiences in New York’s Mutant Town. But the way Hine words his arguments draws the line in the sand between him and mutants like Cyclops. He says, “Mutants must police themselves. Otherwise, there’s chaos. And you know what follows chaos?” Bishop then points to the "M" that marks his face, as he was branded in a totalitarian, oppressive future. He understands that anti-mutant sentiment is still as strong as ever in the U.S., but going against the government’s registration act is a sure way to make the sentiment even more powerful, giving mutant opponents just the ammunition they need. Hine makes Bishop into the alpha dog once again in one of his mutant comics, and I think it’s nice to see a creator enjoy writing an established character as much as this. I loved when Bishop is face to face with Cyclops, saying, “Don’t preach to me, Summers. You have no idea what real oppression is.” Just as Scott is about to rebuke with his typically know-it-all rhetoric, Bishop covers his mouth and simply says, “Don’t.” I don’t know why, but it really pleased me to see Cyclops put in his place by Bishop, which can only mean conflict is on the way for these two warriors. Am I geeked out or what?
Besides the scenes with Bishop, there are some other great sequences that will really appeal to all X-Men fans. First, there is the reunion of the surviving members of the original X-Men, as they head out to find the 198 before Bishop can. (Do you think they’ll find Jean Gray as well?) You would figure that this teaming would create a sympathetic bond between the reader and the X-Men against registration. However, since Hine is so keen on Bishop, this will create a nice dichotomy for the remainder of the series and a true passion for the final conflict. Secondly, the artwork by Yanick Paquette and Serge LaPointe is dead-on in portraying the various characters in the X-Men universe. True, Paquette takes pains to make the females of the story look much more detailed (read "sexier") than the male characters, but his facial expressions and action scenes are well designed and implemented, creating a smooth visual flow throughout the issue. Finally, the classic human fear of mutants is proudly on display in the form of the military. Both the commanding colonel at the Xavier School and General Lazer are obviously of an anti-mutant mind-set, which raises the question: Why is the human government so interested in registering the mutant population? Simply put, mutants are now a precious commodity on earth, and the power they possess would make any government much more powerful. Tony Stark gets this, which explains why he has allied himself with Bishop in the apprehension of the 198. Sadly, Bishop could be the agent of his own oppression down the road!
A lot of the plot-lines that have made the X-Men comics successful for decades are coming to the fore again, and it’s nice to see. Near the end of this issue, Angel remarks that “it’s the end of an era” for the X-Men. Thanks to Hine’s engaging storytelling and Paquette’s vibrant aesthetics, this ending looks to yield a wonderfully entertaining tale that is the cream of the Civil War crop.
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