The original five X-Men are back in this fast, funny and pretty much perfect relaunch of the team…
With Marvel’s ‘ResurrXion’ initiative, the company is trying to relaunch the X-Men back to their glory days. So what better what to restart the franchise then by returning to their roots? This is exactly what X-Men Blue does, as it sees the original five X-Men displaced in time and brought to the present day. If this first issue is anything to go by, it’s a notion that will be a total success.
Writer Cullen Bunn is on top form as he delivers a fast-paced, breezy script that’s filled with lots of action and quickfire, zinging dialogue. The plot is basically, and self-consciously, comics 101 – the X-Men turn up, save people and defeat the bad guy, go home – but the joy of the issue is the way the simple tale is told. It doesn’t help that it is adorned by a couple of classic X-Men villains – namely, Black Tom Cassidy and Juggernaut.
The real highlight of the issue, though, is the terrific team dynamic. Iceman and Angel are fun as sparring comic relief characters, and it’s nice to see that Bunn is continuing the interesting avenue of Beast learning to master the Mystic Arts, and perhaps getting too much power for his own good. Young Cyclops is also a lot of fun, as he bemoans the state of the 21st-century world and misses his own time zone. There’s also the strong angle to explore that he is deliberately trying to do good to avoid the dark fate of his future self. Finally, we have Marvel Girl AKA Jean Grey at the head of the team. With Kitty Pryde heading up X-Men Gold, it’s terrific that both X-Men teams currently have female captains.
As if this wasn’t enough, issue #1 ends with a great couple of final twists. One can be seen coming, though it is no less thrilling when it happens, but the other completely comes out of nowhere. The first comes on the final page of the main comic but the second is the feature of a six-page backup strip, which sports from great art from Matteo Buffagni. Suffice it to say that we didn’t expect to see this character from a defunct universe again…
Jorge Molina’s artwork for the main strip is on point, too, as his crisp, clean style is the perfect blend of the classic 60s Marvel look and the more detailed approach of modern comics. He also nails the X-Men’s youth, which helps remind us that these are not yet the fully-formed heroes that we have been following all these years. The most visually striking moment of the issue is probably the destructive fight with Juggernaut in which all five get a look in.
I easily enjoyed this issue as much as last week’s X-Men Gold #1 (and it’s a big shame that it is now being overshadowed by controversy), and the two compliment each other very well. While Gold looks to Chris Claremont’s run for inspiration, Blue is going all the way back to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s original comics. Simply put, X-Men Blue is the X-Men at their purest.