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Friday, May 31, 2013

Introducing X-Men #1 (again)

Tricked? How, exactly, can you be "tricked" into buying X-Men? Believe me, if there was a way to trick you into buying X-Men, we'd totally be doing it. We'd have you subscribing to all the X-Books, just because.

But don't worry, I've read the new X-Men #1 (previewed here). I'm not usually a big X-Fan - most comic collectors go through their "X" phase at some point, and mine ended a long time ago. Still, the promise of Brian Wood's writing and Olivier Coipel's artwork (plus the gimmick of an all-female X-Team) was enough to get me to try the first issue. And now I'm going to try to trick you into buying it by telling you how it is.

The book turned out really well. You don't need to know anything about recent X-Men continuity to follow what's happening: the characters are introduced, their relationships are explained, and the drama is set up expertly. This isn't a continuity wank-fest like a lot of superhero comics are (don't get upset, you know they are; we still love them just the same), it's just a good story told well.

Wait, I take that back! There are two parts that require specialized X-Men knowledge to make any sense: the villain in the middle of the book comes from Grant Morrison's era back in the early '00s, and the last-page reveal will mean nothing without the proper context (to the point that, if I hadn't read the "Next Issue" blurb on the letters column, I still wouldn't know what it was supposed to mean). Now, knowing how good Brian Wood's writing usually is, I feel safe in assuming that future issues will make these things clear, even to readers who don't have an obsessive level of knowledge about decade-old stories. Those are the only two hiccups.

The art is, of course, beautiful. There's a reason Marvel has tapped Coipel to be the artist on two of their major "event" books: House of M and Siege (both of which we have in tpb form - come buy a copy!). And while the idea of an all-woman team is definitely a gimmick, the X-men have enough strong female characters that it doesn't feel like a gimmick, you know? It's totally organic that these women would all be in the same place at the same time, and would respond to the crisis. It's not a "no boys allowed" club, it's just the staff that was on-hand that day, and they merely happen to have no boys.

So, X-Men #1. If we could trick you into reading it, we would. It's a good start to a new series, whether you think it's "important" or not. We've got plenty of copies, so why not give it a try? And if you have tried it, what did you think?

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