(w) Jonathan Hickman (a) Leinil Francis Yu (i) Gerry Alanguilan (c) Sunny Gho (l) VC’s Clayton Cowles
It started with the act of opening eyes.
What did? Well, a lot of things, but in this instance, Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men #1. Hickman begins his epic ongoing X-Men title with a quick retelling of Cyclops receiving his glasses from Professor X. Could this be Hickman leading in the “blind” readers into greatness? If you’re looking deep into it, sure. Or, it could just be a quick retelling of Cyclops’s X-team beginnings. But nothing is ever simple with Hickman, is it? One could make the argument that you NEED to read House/Powers of X to enjoy X-Men #1. Luckily you don’t, but it does help a great deal. Plus, you should read House/Powers of X for the changing in the status quo.
A Tale of Mutants
Compared to House/Powers, X-Men #1 is a slow burn that keeps its focus on singular events for multiple pages, while having down time. Had there been no 12-issue lead up, X-Men #1 would have felt odd, and out of place. Instead by taking a breather, Hickman showcases what is in store for the mutants, specifically the X-Men. Hickman starts the new series fast with a rescue mission, then goes straight into slice-of-life, ’90s X-Men style. Some fans hate seeing the in between mission side of heroes, but these moments work great in some stories. Especially with a family-centric theme seen in some of the best X-Men stories. X-Men #1 focuses on the Summer family and extended friends for the better part of the story.
On the dialogue side, Hickman keeps it campy, yet with serious moments mixed it. In one panel you’ll be laughing your ass off, just to read something series the next. Luckily this never feels off, or unbalanced. Mutants (especially the X-Men) have always had a weirder, campy side, and Hickman’s not afraid to show it. Throughout HoX/PoX there were moments that felt off for characters, or that nothing is what it seems. Hickman keeps that feeling of unease present in X-Men, but never leans to far into it. As you know with any story involving mutants; the good times never last. And hell, everyone seemed to be having a good time in X-Men #1.
A Family Perfect Portrait
Leinil Francis Yu’s art has always been a visual treat, with his ability to mix realism and comic art. This makes Yu a great choice to kick off the new X-Men story. The tone Yu’s art brings to the readers eyes matches exactly what Hickman is aiming for. When the story calls for fun/campy Yu delivers, or balls-to-the-walls action, Yu delivers. Even the mundane cooking moments feel epic in their execution.
Yu’s fantastic art benefits greatly by Gerry Alanguilan’s inks, and Sunny Gho’s colors. Alanguilan’s ink helps portray the deeper curves in the costumes, while covering parts of characters helping the lighting feel real. In other moments Alanguilan helps the bright and colorful characters stand out against the backgrounds. This brings us to Gho’s colors.
Gho’s mix of light and dark gives X-Men #1 the mix of realism and campy that the other creators are striving for. Between the pencils, inks, and colors some panels in X-Men #1 look hyper-realistic in the best way possible, with no one panel looking out of place. The only thing that looks out of place? Cyclop’s custome. The man needs an update.
On the lettering side is VC’s Clayton Cowles. There aren’t many moments that have sound effects, but Cowles placements of bubbles help guide the reader a fair bit. While in other moments Cowles adds bold, or italicized words that help boost the readability.
A Family That Fight Crime Together
The vibe felt throughout X-Men #1 is different from HoX/PoX by a long shot. But it works perfectly, making X-Men read as a stand-alone book. One of the only downsides would come via the reader. Specifically, those that being if they aren’t a fan of the not violent side of heroes, or just don’t like seeing mutants happy. But in the end, that’s the stuff that makes for the best X-Men stories.
Memorable Quote: “Be careful, they’re sure to be savvy–all these apes have PHD’s!” – Cyclops
There were some hilarious moments throughout, but this one had me spitting out my water.
Side Note: Originally I was complacent with the final of House/Powers. It felt like a great beginning and ending to the X-Men and mutant population. Meaning, I had no plan on reading this series, as I wouldn’t consider myself the biggest X-Men, or Hickman fan. I know, big gasp to both of those! But, after reading X-Men #1 I feel like I may be an idiot for that statement, and would totally recommend this debut issue to anyone interested.
Side Note 2: Good job to Tom Muller on the amazing new X-Men logo!