Review: Amazing X-Men #1
It’s been around eight months since we had a new X-book launched. Has Marvel struck gold again with the X-Men? Somewhat, but Amazing X-Men #1 struggles to find its place in the X-Men corner of the Marvel U.
Considering there are so many X-Men books on the market these days, priority #1 for a new book is to distinguish itself from the rest of the market. X-Men is only female X-people for example. Amazing X-Men #1 just feels like another issue of Wolverine & the X-Men. It has many of the same cast, and the same plot points that are going on. Granted, Wolverine & the X-Men hasn’t shipped since Battle of the Atom ended, so we could be seeing a tonal shift over there. But for now, that’s a big point in the loss column. For a #1 though, Amazing X-Men gets the job done. Jason Aaron uses Firestar as the eyes and ears for new readers, as she is just as confused about the school as a new reader would be. It’s a great use of an underused character, and it helps people feel comfortable in the book. Aaron quickly establishes the status quo for the school, and who the teachers are. If I had never read an issue of Wolverine & the X-Men, I’d understand all the important points of the school without having to research what is going on.
After reading the issue a few times though, I still fail to see the purpose of the title. This story could have been handled in one of the other X-Men books without having to launch another title. It’s entertaining, and I don’t regret spending $3.99 on this title, but it feels like almost every other X-book out there. An oversaturation of the market eventually leads good titles like Astonishing X-Men to be cancelled. This could easily take the place of Astonishing X-Men, offering fun stories that aren’t continuity heavy, but the numerous nods and hints to past storylines keep this from filling those shoes. Another question this book brings up is the use of “Amazing.” Will we see Marvel using it like “Astonishing” a few years ago? Can we expect an “Amazing” Avengers book soon?
Aaron crams a lot in plot wise, and one could say too much. He’s trying too hard to get new readers up to speed while also trying to start up Kurt’s resurrection. He thankfully spends just enough time developing Kurt as someone who needs to be back on Earth, and Heaven just doesn’t suit him well. Aaron lets Ed McGuinness set the tone for these scenes, showing the reader about his depression instead of telling us. The nameless female is never to be seen again in this book, which seems strange. Aaron brings in a plethora of characters in the first few pages Firestar enters the school. A few panels could have been cut, as even the newest of readers know who Wolverine is and his attitude on life. But Aaron gives nice, quick examples of who they are and what their powers do (for the lesser known characters like Firestar). As with most books by Jason Aaron, there is an air of fun to it, which can keep you from focusing on things that aren’t working as well.
Ed McGuinness steals the show on artwork. His kinetic pencils are perfect for a character like Nightcrawler. His swashbuckling fight in the opening pages is a sight to behold. McGuinness breathes life into Nightcrawler as the fight goes on. He might not have pupils, but it’s plain to see in his eyes that this fight is pure fun to him. McGuinness’ take on the Bamfs gives them their best look yet. They appear more like tiny demons instead of straight up recreations of Nightcrawler. If Amazing X-Men #1 has shown me anything, it’s that McGuinness needs to pencil a book about pirates. I absolutely loved the looks on Beast’s face as he discovers the Bamf’s plan. His face is filled with pure happiness, like a scientist would feel as they figure something out. The lack of big green guys (Hulk) and people wearing helmets (Nova) give McGuinness a chance to shine with facial expressions. It’s easy to read everyone’s emotions without giving them a dialogue box.
Amazing X-Men isn’t a perfect start for a new X-book, but it’s entertaining. And isn’t that what we really want in a comic?
Amazing X-Men #1 gets 3.5/5.