Despite all my reviews of late I have more or less neglected a very large portion of the Marvel community, the X-Men. So I have decided to back track somewhat and post reviews for some of the major X-Men events that I have read that span the last few years. I will say that most of what I know about the X-Men comes from the 90’s Cartoon, which was awesome, but I quickly realized that the comic world was vastly bigger and goes much deeper than the famous cartoon. Regardless I could not wait to check out the happenings of some of the coolest characters in the Marvel Universe.
I decided not to do a wirers bio for this as there are too many writers. The story crosses over Uncanny X-Men, New X-Men, and X-Factor, and for each title there is also a different writer. Regardless I think the story is awesome, but I will get into the in a bit.
There is so much going on in this one it is not even funny. First off the first new mutant is born since the Scarlet Witch uttered those very infamous words in House of M. So as you can imagine anyone both villain and hero are trying to get the girl whose name is Hope, for obvious reasons. Along the way the X-Men are attacked by Sentinels, other mutants who want the girl to study, in particular Mr. Sinister and the Acolytes. There are also some mutant hating groups that have gotten wind of the girl and are also after her. The story goes deeper when Cable gets involved and believes the girl is the key to saving the future of the mutant race. Bishop has other plans as he thinks she needs to be killed immediately as he thinks she is responsible for his dystopian future. So who will get there first, and which future will come to pass?
WOW, that is really all I can say after that. I really loved this one, it is a high energy action packed thrill ride with a great story thrown in. There are so many different elements at play that this is one of the better trades I have read period. The first thing I liked about this one is the length. It is very long and despite its length there was still so much more story to tell, lucky for us there is a sequel and even a third edition to the story. I also liked the fact that this was not just a story that occupied a few issues and was over, this one is well worth the price as it is well over 350 pages.
The other thing I liked about this one, among others, is that there are two futures that are displayed in the story. As you know I love a good dystopian future and this story has one of them, and both are particularly nasty. One of the futures is a society where mutants are hunted to near extinction and are kept in concentration camps that are very reminiscent of WWII. I love history and as the saying goes unless we learn from it we are doomed to repeat it and that idea is in full effect here. The brutality of the camps seems to be modeled after the Nazi concentration camps and the inhumanity that is shown to the mutants is very graphic and really adds drama and emotion to the story. First let me say that I know this is a story but I do like how the story shows the persecution of the mutants in the future. Again Marvel has always done an awesome job of making their characters and the scenarios that they portray more real. And what better way than taking something from history and putting a different spin on it.
Another interesting point in the story is that ever since House of M there have been no more mutants born. In fact I think most were depowered and only around 200 or so remained, I think largely this was an attempt to cut down on the characters from the writers point of view but also add drama for the readers. That made mutants one of the most endangered species on the planet. This, I think, is a very interesting thought. This mindset really sort of just hangs low for the time being but really starts to show itself down the road in AvX, another cool effect that if you put in the time reading some of these events you will be rewarded.
There is a little sifi element to the story as well. Cable is from the future so he is time traveling all over the place, which I always think is cool. Plus as I have already mentioned I loved the idea of the two different futures that are playing out. This story really does have a little bit of everything for every comic lover. I have not even talked about the fight scenes, but there are plenty of awesome battles that will have you smiling and rooting for the good guys.
The artwork in this one is a little hard to judge as a whole as the trade is comprised of many different issues across a few different artists and titles. However the artwork ranges from some of the most superb I have ever seen to highly stylized to some very cartoony artwork. The problem is that the artwork is spread out throughout the trade and it kind of divides up the consistency. I will also say that despite the cartoony chapters the seriousness of the story is not lost, which I was surprised by. The main reason is because there are some bloody gruesome battle scenes depicted in this style so it’s hard not to take it seriously. The colors I felt were all very dark, to me there seemed to be an over shading or over inking in all the chapters. There were some bright colors but they are snuffed out by the very intense inking. Everything is heavily outlined in black with further intensifies the darkening effect. I don’t think this is a deal killer just makes some scenes harder to see and get all the details, but I will also argue for it. In the chapters where the artwork is phenomenal this same effect is applied and it is simply marvelous. Page layouts are average, I did see a lack of full page splashes, which was surprising with all the fight scenes.
I thoroughly enjoyed this one from start to finish. The story is amazing from the beginning to the final page. The artwork does range wildly from title to title but honestly because the story is so good and filled with drama and emotion I did not mind that as much. The trade does come with a few extras. At the end there are some pencils of certain pages from the story along with a script, as always I think these are cool to check out. Also there is a ton of cover art that is really spectacular as well. I recommend buying the hardcover edition as I bought the paperback and it is already coming apart, this could just be a fluke, but wanted to make you aware. I cannot recommend this one enough you will not be disappointed in any way with this one.