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X-Men Giant Size #1 (2011)

Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011
By: Robert Tacopina

Christopher Yost
Paco Medina, Dalabor Talajic, Juan Vlasco (i), Marte Gracia (c), Wil Quintana (c)
Marvel
When it comes to the X-Men, one thing is certain -- the times they are a-changing! Right now, the mutants are embroiled in the whole "Schism" debacle that promises to set the X-Family on a new course. Alas, that simply isnít enough when it comes to Cyclops and Co., so courtesy of writer Christopher Yost the mutant demographic is simultaneously thrust into this new storyline: "First To Last."

Christopher Yost has proven himself in the upper echelon of current X-Men scribes, as he has been responsible for churning out (along with collaborator Craig Kyle) memorable runs on modern day masterpieces such as New X-Men and X-Force. The writer has also demonstrated a tremendous grasp on the nuances of each character and how they function within the team dynamic. Fortunately, Yost retains all of these traits despite the fact that he no longer has Kyle to play off of.

At the heart of the book lies a battle for the right for survival as the X-Men are attacked on Utopia by a faction known as the Neo, whom X-Men lifers may remember (for better or worse) from the '90s. As we come to find out, the Neo were also decimated by the effects of House of M miniseries that ended with the vast majority of mutants losing their powers at the whim of the Scarlet Witch. Upon finding out that there have been several new mutant births, the Neo make their presence known and demand answers from an unsuspecting mutant populace as to just why the mutants have been fortunate enough to have had new life enter their race yet theirs has not. This comes to a boiling point when the Celestial-like Evolutionaries make their presence known and in morbidly dramatic fashion.

Yost uses the fantastic device of jumping between timelines from the current incarnation of the X-Men to the original five members to flesh out the story that lies below the surface, the ever ongoing struggle for survival and who has the right to proclaim themselves the dominant species. At the crux of their intervention is their proclamation of their purpose to ensure the survival of the mutant race. Yet it seems that these god-like beings have crossed paths with the X-Men before as they exclaim that Cyclops lied to them. However, Scott has no recollection of any past meeting with these beings for some reason that at the moment remains unbeknownst to us.

As a long time X-Men fan, it was a thrill to see Yost take on the underrated era of the Original Five as an anchor for his tale. Far too often some of these characters (*cough*mypersonalfavoriteIceman*cough*) are merely background fodder, yet here they are major players and rightfully so. In all honesty, the original five are the X-Men that all mutants should aspire to be as they set the bar for what being associated with Xavier's dream entails. There is a deep and poignant theme that runs through the opening chapter of this story and it appears that there will be a great deal more to come in future installments.

The art chores for the two different eras are handled by two different artists -- Paco Medina tackles the current squad while Dalabor Talajic gives life to the first class. Both artists really nailed their respective assignments and capture the kinetic energy of the team and the situations that they are placed in. Plus, there isn't a glaringly obvious dip in quality that sometimes has an ugly tendency to be commonplace when multiple artists are involved. In fact that same can be said for colorists Marte Gracia and Wil Quintana (now and then, respectively).

"First to Last" is off to an incredibly strong start filled with great character moments and a long box or two full of tension. Spot-on writing and great art complete the package on a must read for X-Men fans!



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