We have another new X-Men book folks: All-New X-Men, from Spider-Woman writer Dennis Hopeless and recurring Marvel artist Mark Bagley. Let’s see what they have in store for us. Is it good?
All-New X-Men #1 (Marvel Comics)
After the death of older Cyclops, the original/classic X-Men from the past went their separate ways and have stayed under the radar for the past few months. However, it’s time to get the group together again (minus Jean Grey, who is in Extraordinary X-Men) and see how everyone has been doing. Everyone seems on board with this, even a few other X-Men besides them, but young Cyclops is staying out of sight. Where exactly did he go and what is he up to?
The first issue of All-New X-Men is a pretty solid debut for the most part. It does a good job of filling in people not reading the other X-Men or Inhumans titles about what has happened with older Cyclops and implying the problems that mutants face currently, but it also avoids having the same very serious and dark tone the other titles have by brightening things up a bit and not having the characters be miserable. There’s more of a focus on the characters being happy with each other, being liked by others, and even still doing some superhero work in the shadows. The comic spends some time developing or introducing most of the characters and showing what is unique and interesting about them, except for two of them. Overall, on getting the audience situated with the characters and filling them in on what they need to know, Hopeless succeeds very well on that part.
But Hopeless does succeed in other areas as well when it comes to his writing. The pacing is just right, allowing each scene enough panel time to make its point and nothing drags on for too long. Characterization is good and everyone is fairly likeable and enjoyable. The dialogue and narration are both fairly good as well, not overdoing it with the exposition and having some decent, if a bit corny, lines. The villains are kind of dull, but work as an opening low-scale threat for the group to deal with and show off their abilities against (in the next issue mind you, but still). All in all, the first issue is pretty well written overall, minus minor points that I’ll touch on in a bit.
Sorry, got to fill my “selfies with strangers” quota for the week.
Mark Bagley’s artwork looks pretty good as well. While he still has the problem of characters having similar looking faces regardless of the gender (also, New Wolverine’s claws look more like tusks), his work isn’t all that bad. He’s still good at laying out scenes and panels, allowing for things to flow well. The action, while a bit static at times, has some nice energy and flare to it with the physical fighting and mutant powers on display at times (like young Cyclops taking on the Ghosts of Cyclops). Bagely does a solid job drawing some nice scenery and some cool looking shots in the book. While it’s standard superhero artwork, his work fits the comic perfectly and helps keep things bright and enjoyable from start to finish.
There some weak portions of the comic unfortunately. For as well as Hopeless did with introducing the cast, Kid Apocalypse and Idie Okonkwo feel thrown by the wayside in the issue and didn’t really get to do or say much. It’s kind of a shame since they are not as nearly well known as the other characters (I especially don’t know much about Idie and would have liked to have seen more of her personally) and this first issue could have been perfect to introduce new people to them. I’m sure Hopeless well flesh them out as time goes on, but there’s not much to them right now. Speaking of which, the comic feels rather light on story and could have benefited from focus. While we got a whole subplot with younger Cyclops that’s good, the main story of everyone getting back together feels rather vague and it’s not exactly clear why they are doing it outside of just wanting to see each other. As such, the issue doesn’t have that urgency or intensity that Extraordinary X-Men does. Of course, Hopeless may not be going for that in the comic, so we’ll have to wait and see with what happens next with the story.
Is It Good?
All-New X-Men #1 is a pretty solid and enjoyable start to this new X-Men title. It lacks the heavy baggage that its sister title has, but instead offers a fun and bright superhero tale with some good characters that all readers can get into. It has some minor problems, but nothing that really brings the comic down. If you are looking for an X-Men title that isn’t really heavy, this may be for you.