When Wolverine and the X-men launched a few years ago, it added a much needed new corner into the X-universe. It scratched an itch that hadn’t been touched for a long time by moving the focus away from super heroics and focusing on the school aspect that had been lost since M-day. We got to see familiar characters in new roles as teachers. We got to see a lot of underused characters in a more active role, and we got some brand new characters that were great. It was zany, it was fun, it was magic. But 42 issues later it had run its course. The story had already culminated (awkwardly) at the Hellfire saga, and we had a few issues of confused sputtering until it finally ended.
Then we got news that the series would receive an ALL NEW MARVEL NOW relaunch brought to us by jasonlatour and mahmudasrar. Based on the 10-15 online comments I read at the time, it appeared that many people were growing wary of these relaunches, but I was more than ready for it. A new issue number one allows not only for new people to jump onto a book, but when done well, and done correctly, it allows for a refocus and a creative reboot. Those things were greatly needed to revitalize my once favorite series, and I think we are getting that.
This new entry in the franchise does a lot of things right. I mean it does almost everything right. We see the students after the end of the previous series. Graduation has just happened and we are starting a summer term. For reasons not yet disclosed, Wolverine has let most of the schools staff go on leave, leaving us with the senior staff of Storm, Beast, Wolverine, Fantomex, and the TA’s Armor and Quentin Quire. This shift immediately allows for a greater focus on the students. Not only our there less teachers vying for screen time, but the Students are taking up more of the necessary roles in the school. It also allows for us to get a very peeved and overworked Storm with amazing annoyed faces drawn by Mahmud.
There are several threads that start in the issue that have me very intrigued, and each thread weaves between scenes smoothly. We get to check in with a lot of different people throughout the issue, and each gets to have a moment in the spotlight. We are also introduced to a new student, Lin Li, the really cute antler girl from the previews. While she doesn’t say anything the entire issue she serves as a really nice gateway into the book for new readers, plus she is incredibly adorable.
First issues are incredibly hard to pull off, but tight plotting, great art, and funny, smart writing all make a large difference. I think it is important to mention that I laughed out loud several times the first time I read it. There are a lot of play on words and puns and I was living for it. The art only adds to the joy of it all. Every scene felt alive and dynamic. All of the new designs are a treat, and I really appreciated the bamfs wearing little suits.
I am a little wary of TERRIBLE THINGS ARE HAPPENING IN THE FUTURE that seems to be a very consistent trope in the X-universe, but I am holding out hope that something good will come from it. It does tie into battle of the Atom and AVX fallout which no one has really even mentioned since it happened (What the heck is Kymera even doing????). If Hope and Wanda did destroy the Phoenix, how is Quentin running around with flaming mutton chops in the future? So I am hoping we get some nice answers.
The issue has the perfect amount of fun and lays the foundation for something grand and memorable. I only hope that the team has as long as Jason Aaron did to put their mark on the universe, because as of this moment, I am very excited to see where it goes.