X-Men Vol. 01 by Jonathan Hickman – Comic Book Review

Below you’ll find the text-based review:

The flagship title of the X-Men has dropped any pithy adjective. No more “Uncanny” for our mutant protagonists as they move away from protecting a world that fears them. That’s a decidedly secondary objective now; with Jonathan Hickman’s relaunch of the series, everything’s changed.

This first volume of Hickman’s X-Men has loosely cast its very own Slim in the role of protagonist (that’s Cyclops for those of you who are unproficient in X-lingo). Scott Summers has been endlessly fascinating to me since he became the de facto leader of the X-Men after Charles Xavier’s disappearance as long ago as the House of M event. So much has transpired since then; now, Scott is back to being the field leader of the X-Men, acting as Krakoa’s Captain Commander. This is Scott as I haven’t seen him in a long time, unburdened by the mistakes of the past and the pressure of all mutantkind’s destiny. He’s got his family back together, and for the first time in a long while, it seems like genuine hope is in the air. It won’t last, it never does–but while this is the case, we might as well enjoy it, right? (Incidentally, that’s also Scott’s mindset.)

One of the issues shows Scott going on an adventure with his kids. Seeing him interact in such a care-free way with Rachel and Cable is a joy. They meet a Summoner (huh?!) and make quick friends with him:

I am uncertain as to the role this Summoner will be playing in the events to come on Krakoa but I genuinely like his design and character. Leave it to Hickman to do delightful weirdness with humanoids in contrasting colours. The connection with Apocalypse doesn’t hurt my curiosity any, either.

From the get-go, Cyclops has great chemistry with just about everyone he shares a panel with, whether that’s Magneto, Polaris, Storm, Wolverine, Jean, or anyone else. A scene-stealer for me is his and Emma Frost’s venture into the Savage Land. The most hilarious moments of the entire volume are all to be found here:

This Patent Shaw Moment is just build-up to the greatest Emma Frost take-down in history:

Panels like the following remind me of why I continue to ship him and Emma as hard as I do:

Care to bet how Shaw’s villainous monologue ends?
Either way, I’m not wholly sold on this Hordeculture, but if the interactions keep to this level of quality comedic relief…I’m game.

I have a lot of questions: is Jean in a polyamorous relationship with Logan and Scott right now? I mean, just look at the plan of their chambers:

As I am what the kids would call a “Magneto stan”, I can’t walk away from this review without saying that he steals the show whenever he appears, in this volume as in the next. The fourth issue in this collected volume is stunning in that it sees three of Krakoa’s leaders–Magneto, Charles Xavier, and Apocalypse–visit the international economic forum in Davos. Every page of that issue is pure gold to me, but Magneto’s speech towards the gathered dignitaries of some of the world’s most powerful nations had me at the edge of my seat. Just after, Xavier also has perhaps the most powerful scene he’s had in Hickman’s writing so far. He takes off his Cerebro helmet and explains what has changed–and what hasn’t–in his vision for the world, in his relationship with humanity, in the very nature of who he has become. I’ve always thought the most fascinating ideological moments in the X-books are created when these two characters share panels and this issue is excellent proof to that. And if you think this talking might be too much for your violence-loving ways, let me assure you–there is plenty of limb-chopping action courtesy of another of the X-Men’s Captains, Gorgon, that proves what a badass Krakoa’s leaders have gotten as a bodyguard.

The fifth issue seems like something big that Hickman will revisit in the future–it’s a lot of build-up, a lot of it beyond engaging for me. I haven’t got much to say beyond: my curiosity has been well and truly piqued. The art of this one is incidentally my favourite as it is done by R. B. Silva rather than Leinil Francis Yu, who does issues 1-4. I don’t like Yu’s interior art much, though I fully realise his talent, and some of the covers he has done in the past are well and truly gorgeous. It’s personal preference and much of the art is objectively awesome. I also think that when he does his own inking, like in issues 3-4, there’s a marked improvement over Gerry Alanguilan’s inks, but I’m nowhere near proficient or knowledgeable enough with art to be able to give you more than that.

The sixth issue shows Xavier and Magneto’s dealings with Mystique and a secret mission she had during the X-Men’s attack on the Master Mold in solar orbit; I have a very strong disdain for her, as she has betrayed the X-Men countless times and if there’s one thing I got away from that issue, it is that she might do so again. What her game is…that’s going to take a little while to figure out. I hope, badly, she doesn’t screw all of Krakoa over. That would suck.

Did I enjoy Hickman’s first volume of the X-Men? Oh. Hell. Yeah! So much so that I finished reading the second volume right before sitting down to write this review–guess I’ve got a whole lot more to say about issues 7-11! Stay tuned!

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