Sometimes you need to start over to truly get at what makes something good. That’s what Age of X-Man has accomplished with its alternate-dimension (I think?) take on the X-Men. The characters now live in a utopian world of only mutants, but deep down it’s clear something is not right. In the first spin-off from the main book, Ed Brisson and Marcos To explore the Summers Institute for Higher Learning school with Glob taking center stage.
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
Based on the events in Age of X-Man: Alpha, something is up with Glob. If there is any character to wake up everyone and make them realize something isn’t right it’s him. This is his journey.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue is aptly titled since it’s focused on the mutants who are up next to be superheroes. They aren’t yet allowed to help out those in need, but they’re getting there. The issue opens with Glob tending to his chickens, which is something he seems to do for solace and time to think. He is then bullied and it’s clear he’s a bit of the odd man out. As the story unfolds, Brisson captures Glob’s endearing nature and how he’s a lot like all of us in high school. He may not be the coolest guy, but he’s got his head on straight and internalizes a lot of what is said to him and what he sees.
As the story unfolds, Brisson reveals a tiny bit of what is going on in this strange world which includes secrets and odd turns for some characters. Hell, Blob is a good guy, or at least Glob is told that. The bigger mystery is a big reason why these Age of X-Man books work so well and it’s definitely a draw to read this issue.
Marcus To’s art is quite good, with dark shadows and inks used to capture the somewhat nightmarish elements of this world. It’s not yet revealed, but there’s clearly a seedy underbelly. It’s hard not to love the design of Glob who is strange to look at, yet somehow pretty. Maybe that’s thanks to the pinks used by colorist Jason Keith, but even the off-kilter eyeball can be cute in its own way. To positively kills it on a splashy introduction at one point (no spoilers!) and it’s hard to miss the expressive nature of Glob throughout.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
The cliffhanger is a bit of a cheat. You’ll know it when you see it, but it’s definitely not what it’s trying to be so you’ll see through its rouse. Instead, it’s a shocking moment that could have been stronger if we’d been given a couple panels after it. It’s the kind of ending that you’ll shrug at, expecting a turn that’ll be resolved next issue quickly.
Overall the issue is good, but very low key in nature. Glob is basically going through the motions, not a lot of conflict occurs aside from high school type drama, and then it ends on that odd cliffhanger. I suspect when we learn the big twist on the bigger story, this issue will lose a lot of its power due to the lack of the underlining mystery.
Is it good?
Speaking as a guy who doesn’t usually read X-Men books, I can’t get enough of Age of X-Man. This issue continues that unnerving mystery while delivering new details about the world that should draw even casual readers in. This comic is a reminder big shakeups in comics can be a very good thing.