Extraordinary X-Men (Marvel)
Writer Jeff Lemire
Penciler Humberto Ramos
It is a rare book indeed that makes me like Storm. And yet here I sit, thinking about how much I enjoyed Storm in Extraordinary X-Men #1, one of the many, post-Secret Wars books that Marvel is starting to put out.
I’m not sure exactly how this happened, but right from the get-go I found myself thinking how awesome Storm looks. She’s got a great new costume and still retains the bad-ass mohawk. The story also starts off with Storm in an interesting place. She is now headmaster of the Xavier Institute (or whatever the name happens to be in this particular iteration) and things are going badly for mutants. When one thinks about everything bad that has happened to mutants over the years, this is not really a surprise, but Storm’s attitude makes me feel like this is something different.
Jeff Lemire does a great job of bringing the reader into the story and setting the proper tone. Storm is almost too calm in the face of her world collapsing. She has even been forced to turn to Charles Xavier for help, who readers should keep in mind, has been dead since AvX. Needless to say, Chuck isn’t actually there, and the scene left me wondering if this wasn’t the beginning of Storm cracking under the pressure. In truth, only time will tell. Lemire also handles a touching reunion between Magik and Colossus with wonderful finesse. Although the official reunion happens in Uncanny X-Men #600 (also out this week), I feel like this one was more personal. The siblings have been estranged for quite some time and the scene starts off kind of awkward, but eventually the two reconnect on the fact that regardless of what has happened, the pair are the only family they have left and love one another very much.
I’m really curious to see where this series takes Jean Grey. Based on the cover art, I can assume that she will eventually join this team, but I expect the circumstances will be fairly interesting. Since being brought into the present, time displaced Jean is one of my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe. She is a teenage girl who is suddenly forced to deal with all the crap that her older, DEAD, self did, not to mention the fact that she’s a mutant, which always makes life “fun.” All-New X-Men did a great job of exploring her attempt to deal with this while surrounded by her teammates, but now Jean has decided to go out into the world on her own and I can’t wait to see what she is like when not surrounded by her constant companions.
If I haven’t ever mentioned it, Humberto Ramos is one of my favorite artists. He was the artist on the very first issue of X-Men I bought, back in the summer of 2007, and I read several other things he had done (like Wolverine: Civil War) in my early comic days. Even with all that in mind, I think this is some of his best work. As I’ve mentioned before, I love the new Storm look, and that is huge. Ramos maintains Storm’s regal air without making her look and feel too much like actual royalty. She is composed, but approachable and generally bad-ass. I’d also forgotten how much I love Ramos drawing Magik, and especially her soul sword, in action. That thing is absolutely brutal and Ramos really gives it a life all unto itself. Even without the soul sword, I find myself drawn to Magik. She is not someone with whom I would want to mess.
My biggest complaint about the book has to do with the driving force behind the plot, and it goes a little something like this. Back in Infinity the Terrigen Mists were released all over the planet, making tons more Inhumans. Apparently after Secret Wars, this same Mist is now causing a plague that is killing all mutants. Not only that, but it’s apparently sterilizing all the mutants. Now, setting aside the fact that it’s an established part of canon that non-mutant parents have mutant children, WE JUST FUCKING DID THIS!!!!! Seriously, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade was only a couple years ago and for like seven years before that we had “no more mutants”. Excuse me if I seem a frustrated, but I feel like this is a little ridiculous. I don’t mind revisiting common themes or ideas, but this is basically recycling the same plot over only with a different physical mechanism. I can’t even wrap my head around why this seemed like a good idea.
Now that I am done ranting, I did enjoy the book. Once I got over my initial “are you kidding me” moment, I discovered how much potential the book had to offer, while it figures out how to deal with this “latest” threat to mutant kind. I’m excited to see where the creative team takes the book, and who knows, the plague thing might win me over yet. 3.5/5 Death Stars