Everybody’s favorite Grant Morrison-written and Frank Quitely-drawn X-Men comic seems to be getting a reboot this week. But is it similar, how is it different and how does it fit into Secret Wars? Many questions, but is it good?
E Is For Extinction #1 (Marvel Comics)
To say this issue opens with a bang is both a literal and figurative statement. I won’t ruin it here, but it sets up the tone and reason for why Magneto is in charge. From there this issue opens with Beak, everyone’s least favorite mutant yet the character that’ll never go away. I kid, but be that as it may we open on a club where girls are all over him. A group calling themselves The Patient show up to commit violence on the mutants. They’re a bunch of wannabe mutants—presumably humans who have genetically given themselves powers—and they want to kill off the real mutants. Magneto shows up with his X-Men, all young and with a few familiar faces.
Not looking their best.
Writer Chris Burnham does a few things very right with this series. The first is setting up the two sides; an old Cyclops, Emma and Wolverine on one side, and Magneto and his school of mutants on the other. The sides aren’t similar to what we’ve seen before, partly because they’re both fighting for the same cause, and the only difference really is that the old mutants don’t want to give up the superhero mantle. This creates an interesting and new dynamic between the characters all with a promise of The Phoenix to come. It’s a nice setup and an interesting world for fans of the franchise and non-fans alike to explore.
There are however a few scenes that are wonky and even silly. One opens on Wolverine getting heckled when Cyclops shows up. The dialogue is silly and I’m not even sure it’s supposed to draw a laugh. This happens a few times in the issue. I’m also not sure about the adult themes in the title, which feel almost forced and added in order to age up the writing. Take for instance a scene where Beast is doing a little checkup on a normal human’s genitals. The sperm is blown up into a hologram 3D image around them and it’s not lacking in certain sex jokes. In another scene a character makes reference to Beak’s shirt which has an arrow pointing down and how it’s “instructive.” It somehow feels out of place and I can’t pinpoint why.
The art by Ramon Villalobos is spot on and reminiscent of Quitely’s work on the original work this is based on. One might say it’s actually closer to Burnham’s style with its more condensed look and feel. Without a doubt though both styles do a great job giving clothing weight and thickness. I’ve been a fan of Quitely and Burnham’s for some time, so adding Villalobos to the fold is welcome. The only odd thing that struck me was how he drew Cyclops. In the opening he looks pudgy and overweight. He’s older so this is a detail that makes sense, but later with his shirt off he looks trim. Kind of an odd difference. I can’t say Villalobos’ line is quite as good as Burnham’s or Quitely’s at this juncture though, as his looks a bit stiff in comparison. Overall though fans of the original Morrison run should love this art.
Awkward dialogue much?
Is It Good?
A good introduction to a new story focused on a world where Grant Morrison’s X-Men story went in a different direction. Fans of that now classic series should love this and I wouldn’t be surprised if non X-Men fans jumped on board simply because it’s a little different than what we’ve seen before from the mutant side of Marvel. This series has my attention.