by Jacen Roger
Over six decades, the X-Men have carved a place in comic book lore and popular culture. From their birth in the 1960s, to their legendary reboot in the 1970s, to their attitude adjustment in the 1990s, to their battle against extinction in the 2000s, the X-Men have remained unquestionably relevant to generations of readers, the ultimate underdogs in an increasingly complicated world.
New York Times-best-selling author Ed Piskor (Hip-Hop Family Tree, Wizzywig) is creating a retelling of the entire X-Men history, complete, complex, and condensed in a way that stitches together hundreds of classic and obscure stories into one tale of X-Men lore.
The X-men are one of the most popular superhero teams in all of comics. Since they’re a popular team, there’s naturally a good amount of people who are interested in reading the comics, and don’t know where to start. This book serves as the answer to that problem. Its purpose is to bring new readers up to speed on the history of the X-Men.
On the cover, the corner is alright. Scott Summers looks like he got a surprise erection from a touchdown he just watched on the tele. Jean Grey looks like she’s trying to conceal embarrassment in front of their house guests and Iceman just looks like melted ice cream.
Our story mostly follows the quest of Bald Molester Man (Professor X) as he recruits four little boys to solve puzzles for him and to wear skintight yellow outfits for his amusement. Before that whole dumpster fire, though, we are given a brief history of mutants.
“Gee, little Johnny, I don’t know. Maybe if you gave me some time, I could think up a few reasons.”
So, basically, you don’t want to be a mutant. You’re either shunned, tortured, or exploited by society, as is the case with Zombie McMushbrains up there.
You’ve gotta love the southern stereotype in the last panel. The man has a sunhat, pitchfork, spurs, and says “Git outta ‘Merica!”. Is this what passes for humor at Marvel these days? Because, if it is, I’m impressed. So, then we’re given some panels that looks like a slide off of a 6th grade history teacher’s presentation that he made while trying to figure out how to pay his electric bill. Basically, after a big battle between the original Human Torch and Namor, New York is flooded. years later, New New York is built in its place.
I’m already getting sick of writing this, so I’m going to sum up a good quarter of the book in a few sentences. Charles Xavier (a.k.a. Mr. Iwant Touchyoungboy) is born. His dad dies, and his mom gets together with a single father soon thereafter. The man and his son move in with Charles and Mama Charles, who’s name is never given in the book. Charles soon finds out that his new stepbrother has murder-rape fantasies about him. Later on, his brother Cain accidentally burns down the house, killing everyone except for him and Charles. They both move to America and are drafted into the military.
In the war, Charles uses his mind powers to protect himself. Later on, his brother gets swallowed by Apocalypse, and Chuck returns home from the war. He then hooks up with Magneto’s daughter, and months later, she gives birth to Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.
That’s a strategy if ever I heard one. Impregnate your arch-enemy’s daughter. Nice.
If that’s not bad enough, Chuck skips town soon thereafter. Awesome. Chucky is a deadbeat dad, now. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.
So, Chuck decides to recruit the X-men. He stars with Scott Summers, who’s just killed the local bully by tearing him in half with his optic blasts.
Then, Scott gets abducted by a thief and Royal Flush Gang reject named Jack O’ Diamonds. Scott helps Jack break into a lab and Jack uses a…thing to make him a diamond? I don’t know. It’s never explained.
So Scott watches as Jack O’ Diamonds is killed right in front of him in a truly hilarious and horrific way. As if that little boy didn’t need MORE trauma in his life. So far, Scott’s been in a plane crash, lost his parents, lost his brother, destroyed a hospital, killed a resident bully, kidnapped by a thief made of diamonds, watched said thief die, and is now being approached by a paraplegic Kevin Spacey who probably wants him to solve puzzles in his creepy basement. It seems like Marvel creators have a real fetish for putting Cyclops through the wringer.
So then, Charles and Scott recruit the rest of the X-men, forming the very first X-men team that we all know and love.
I thought this book was okay. It serves its purpose of giving new readers a crash course on X-men history, but it still has a lot of holes. It tries to include too many things, and doesn’t do it successfully. It glosses over too many details for my taste. They should’ve just started with the origins of the first team, maybe just one page or two dedicated to Charles’s backstory. Maybe include some early adventures as well.
This book isn’t great for catching new readers up to speed. It’d be very confusing to someone new to the X-men mythos. Maybe the next book will do better.
I give this book five traumatized orphans out of ten. 5/10
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