If HOX and POX was all about laying the groundwork as far as where mutants go from here it appears Hickman is reminding us X-Men and its merry mutants are part of a character drama. While the last twelve weeks certainly had character moments one could argue it was more about plot than probing the minds of its characters. That all changes this week as Dawn of X kicks into high gear revealing the heavily Summers centric family and their base on the Moon. Before even thinking about reading this book I highly recommend you read the Jonathan Hickman Q & A that took place yesterday in X-Men Monday. It’s filled with hints and details on what’s to come.
The preview of this book literally shouts, “things have never been better” which may be a tipoff things aren’t so great and we should worry. Given how Powers of X ended last week things aren’t as peachy as we may like, but this book sets out to establish the characters thinking it’s all coming up roses right now.
The book opens with Cyclops and the day he was given glasses that allowed him to see without destroying everything in front of him. It’s a nice tip-off Cyclops, and all of his family, are at the center of this first story arc. It’s also a quiet moment of connection between Xavier and Cyclops which reminds us for all their powers and all the architecture of plot revolving around Moira and multiple timelines, this is a book about characters connecting. We see this in the very next scene as Storm and Cyclops storm a human facility for reasons unknown. The book continues this trend of human interaction from Magneto being hailed like a hero when he, Cyclops, Polaris, and Storm go back to Krakoa after their mission, to a moment between Cyclops and his father on the Moon. There are so many character dynamics and interactions in play I’d argue this book is a complete opposite from HOX and POX. They are also similar, however, and this story resets a lot of what we know making for a fascinating first issue since so much feels new or restarted.
I asked Hickman if the graphs would continue in Dawn of X and I was pleasantly surprised to find a few in this issue. They don’t add a lot, but there are definitely some subtle nods at what they’re up to on a character dynamic level. It’s a nice additional layer you don’t see in most comics that makes these books feel a little more worthy of your coin.
The art by Leinil Francis Yu, with inks by Gerry Alanguilan, and colors by Sunny Gho do well to capture the atmosphere. The opening is darker in a tone which makes sense given the dangerous mission at hand, while scenes in Krakoa are bright and vibrant. The villains meanwhile are lit brightly but in an unnatural way which helps convey their affront to mutants and natural order. Yu is a fantastic choice for this book thanks to the darker tone which gives every page and panel a sense of dread or unease. The world mutants have built isn’t perfect by any means even when they think it’s close to it. It’s as if there’s a subtle hint on every page we should be wary as far as what is to come.
As far as the first issues the narrative style is certainly slow. It’s methodical, but also lacking in action and big reveals. There are subtle hints at things, which will drive up your interest, but nothing here that’ll have you jumping out of your seat. The more thought-provoking nature of the story may thrill many however even though the last 12 weeks have been relatively slow in their own right. In that aspect then this series feels right at home.
X-Men #1 brings mutants back to the character story which is a fan-favorite element that keeps these characters grounded, relatable, and interesting. The domestic lives of mutants are on full display and I can’t wait to see how Hickman and Yu shatter the peace and tranquility of their lives. X-Men is very good at generating excitement in the exchanges between characters.
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