X-Men #1

"X-Men

CMRO#72
X-Men #1
September 1963

Written by Stan Lee
Pencils by Jack Kirby
Inks by Paul Reinman

So by now it’s been, what, six months since Marvel’s newest full-time superhero made his debut in Tales of Suspense 39? So yeah, it’s about time we got somebody new to read about now that The Incredible Hulk has been sent packing—and that we do. In fact, we get six new heroes somewhat out of the blue here with the introduction of the X-Men. 

As far as origin stories go, this one is one of the better ones so far (behind Spider-Man and Iron Man), though you can tell that Stan and company view the property as a kind of extension on the Fantastic Four formula that’s been funding their wage-cheques over the past year. Obvious similarities aside however, the new gang of heroes still come across as fresh and somewhat distinctive, even if much of the story’s narrative sticks to the same beats we’ve been reading for a while now.

What works is the issues opening half which sees the mutants at Professor X’s academy going through tests of their abilities before newbie Jean Grey (Marvel Girl) crashes the party and turns all the guys into embarrassing chauvinist caricatures and herself into another Sue Storm, albeit with a better powerset. What doesn’t quite work as well is the latter half which sees the new superteam battle it off with long-term nemesis Magneto who follows the Villains Handbook of Villainy to a T. It’s predictable and a little drab, despite having all these new abilities to toy with—nothing exciting really happens.

With that said however, X-Men comes across as a welcome and off-beat take on the Fantastic Four formula that is definitely still to find its own legs (specifically in the art style which right now is lifeless and lacking punch) but which will hopefully offer a decent alternative to what else is out there. Watch this space, I guess.

MY SCORE: 4.0 (out of 10)

29.08.11

X-Men #4

"The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants!"

CMRO#113
X-Men #4
March 1964

Written by Stan Lee
Pencils by Jack Kirby
Inks by Paul Reinman

An exhilaratingly action-packed issue for the X-Men this month as they come face to face with their arch nemesis, Magneto and his newly formed Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Slowly but surely chipping away the broad corners, Lee and Kirby continue to develop the X-Men mythos away from your standardised superhero group tact and more towards what they would become known for. The heroes are still kind of undefined at this stage, but it’s still early days, and progress is definitely being shown.

What’s even more exciting however is the ever-escalating tension between these Evil Mutants and The X-Men that reads just as well as the oddly well paced action sequences. In addition to Magneto making his second appearance we also get the introductions of Scarlet Witch, Toad, Quicksilver and Mastermind. Some of them are better than others; Scarlett Witch being given something of an origin, and Quicksilver rather graciously being thrown a conscience too. Toad and Mastermind however come off as routinely villainous. All of this and we get an awesome cliffhanger of an ending where Professor X faces the prospect of losing his mutant powers.

So all things considered, this is a more than decent outing for the X-Men that equals the quality seen in issue #2. Exciting and interesting stuff, for sure. I look forward to seeing where this takes the series in the immediate future.


MY SCORE: 6.0 (out of 10)

08.10.11