Maggott, Joseph and Stacy X are all contenders for the title of “Worst X-Man Ever,” but writer Max Bemis and artist Michael Walsh want you to believe this honor belongs to insignificant teenager Bailey Hoskins. Are they right, and more importantly, is Marvel’s latest X-Men mini-series any good?
X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever (Marvel Comics)
To X-Fans old and new, I say yes! With their debut issue, Bemis and Walsh lay the foundation for what looks to be a fun, heartfelt spin on the classic mutant coming-of-age story.
Marvel was smart to let Bemis play in an X-Men sandbox not tethered to any one period in X-continuity, as it allows him to focus on telling a good story and not worry about the harmful effects of Terrigen Mists or mutant revolutions. Instead, we get classic X-Men (Hello Wolverine, good to see you again!) in their classic school setting we all know and miss. It’s literally old school.
Setting this tale against a familiar backdrop filled with friendly faces lets the storytellers spend their time developing Bailey, the supposed “Worst X-Man Ever.” But he’s really not so bad. In fact, he’s probably someone a lot of comic book fans felt like in high school. When we first meet him, Bailey’s flipping through his phone, trying to decide which girl would ever agree to go to the prom with him, only to reach the conclusion he doesn’t have “one noteworthy quality.”
Bailey sets out to make himself more interesting, when the secret to being special was inside him all along…well, in his DNA. I’m not really spoiling anything when I say Bailey finds out he’s a mutant, and he loves it!
After several decades of stories about sulking mutants and characters struggling with their transformation to Homo superior, it’s refreshing to see someone genuinely excited to learn he carries the X-gene. For a character like Bailey who’s fed up with not standing out, this is the ultimate form of wish fulfillment. And like X-Fans, Bailey understands exactly what makes Marvel’s merry mutants so appealing.
But don’t let this series’ humorous title and lighthearted cover fool you into thinking Bemis will tell one joke over the course of five issues. Bailey’s mutant power isn’t quite what it seems, and in true X-fashion, events take a turn for the tragic, laying the seeds for a solid character study.
It also doesn’t hurt that this book’s easy on the eyes. Walsh’s artwork glides effortlessly from Bailey’s high school cafeteria to the X-Men duking it out with one of their oldest foes in all their colorfully costumed glory. It’s always refreshing to see the X-Men looking more like normal people than jacked super models.
Is It Good?
Don’t be swayed by this comic’s clickbaity title – X-Men: Worst X-Men Ever #1 is a refreshing surprise that promises comedy, character, twists and a whole lot of heart. I’m rooting for you, Bailey!