Rating: 3/5 – A first issue that doesn’t really feel like a first issue.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
I’d like to think of myself as a knowledgeable X-Men fan. I read most of the X-Men series each and every month, and love the history and lore that these longtime characters bring. That being said, I didn’t follow the previous Wolverine and the X-Men series. After starting to hear great things about the series much later in it’s run, I was excited to hear that Marvel will be releasing an Omnibus collecting the series so I can finally catch up. But I was also excited to see a new number one for this series, with an all new creative team. I’d finally be able to read about these characters that for the most part I know little about when compared to the main (and older) X-Men characters. Unfortunately, that excitement faded about halfway through this first issue as I felt lost and confused by a lot of what was going on.
Writer Jason Latour, who hasn’t had much writing experience when compared to his work as an artist, launches this all new first issue with artist Mahmud Asrar. This series takes place at the Jean Grey school of Higher Learning where a younger team of X-Men such as Quentin Quire and a young Apocalypse (who was introduced in Rick Remender’s X-Force series), interact with some veterans like Storm and Wolverine, balancing out the large cast with both new and old. There’s quite a few character moments within as Latour wants to introduce us to these characters, but the introductions never really get me to understand the characters better. Latour could have done this better with a few more character description boxes, or by spending a bit more time exploring the quieter moments so a new reader could begin to understand just who they are. And the first time we see Wolverine, well that was just as confusing. Wolverine first appears in an inter-dimensional prison along with Fantomex, that I assume carries over from the previous series, but I’m not really sure. I don’t know how or why he got there, and the writing didn’t really make me care to find out why. Latour also throws in the Phoenix force as well, using a long time X-story theme that although feels familiar, adds some trepidation about the thought of reading yet another X-Men “Phoenix” story.
In terms of art, Mahmud Asrar is a perfect fit. He’s makes this book look great with his ability to add character to each an every member of this cast, as well as portray action and character moments equally as well. He has just a dash of a manga to his art, which fits the tone of this issue perfectly. Plus, it’s always nice to see when an artist not only draws the interiors, but the cover as well. It gives the book a consistent visual consistency that doesn’t always exist in monthly books. Although this first issue can be confusing, I’ll be sticking with it for the next few issues to see if Latour can get me to feel for these “new-to-me” characters. I have a feeling I’ll still need to read the prior series though to understand these characters better, which is both good and bad. The good is that I’ll finally catch up on a highly regarded series, the bad is that this first issue wasn’t able to do so on it’s own.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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