All-New Marvel continues with our first mutant book, Extraordinary X-Men

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I have been an on-and-off fan of X-Men since real early in my comic reading. X-FORCE was basically my favorite comic as a kid, and I really enjoyed Lobdell and Nicieza’s work on the main X-MEN books. Over the years, there have been many X-Men-related titles and runs I have loved (Exiles and Peter David’s X-Factor come to mind), but for the last few years, X-Men has been kind of a mess. This all started with House of M. Marvel decided that they were a little too reliant on X-Men books, and declared NO MORE MUTANTS. It seemed like Marvel has started to slowly roll back on that decision. We had started to see new mutants, and a new status quo was established. I didn’t always love the war between Cyclops and Wolverine’s factions, but I still thought it was far more interesting than  X-Men had been for a long time.

Early this year, rumors started that Marvel was going to be further dialing back the X-Men line, and replacing it with Inhumans. All these rumors pointed to the fact that Marvel didn’t own the licensing rights for X-Men, but they did own them for Inhumans. I kept calling BS on this. No intelligent company would shoot them in the foot this way….right?

Even last week, while reading Uncanny X-Men #600 (which was originally supposed to come out back in April), it seemed like Marvel was well on the way to repairing the X-Men books. All mutants were united on the steps on Congress, with Cyclops stepping up as their natural leader. For the first time in a long time, things seemed okay. But then five minutes later, I read Extraordinary X-Men #1, and realized that maybe Marvel wasn’t quite as intelligent as I gave them credit for…


EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #1

Written by: Jeff Lemire
Penciled by: Humberto Ramos
Inked by: Victor Olazabo
Colored by: Edgar Delgado
Lettered by: VC's Joe Caramagna

Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $4.99

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

This comic starts with Storm reflecting on how bad things have gotten. Storm, Iceman, and Magik are running the Xavier Institute, which has become a last bastion of mutantkind. People around the world are terrified of M-Pox, basically a plague that affects mutantkind that was caused by the worldwide release of Terrigen Mists. Entire militaries have been tasked with killing or containing mutants. M-Pox has the side effect of sterilizing mutantkind, so once again, NO MORE MUTANTS. We also find out that Cyclops did some awful thing which had further made humanity against mutantkind. They should call this book Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate X-vents. Storm, Iceman, and Magik decide they need help as they can’t handle this all alone.

Magik recruits her brother, Colossus, who has returned to the family farm. Their next target is Nightcrawler, but he seems to have been kidnapped by a group looking to experiment on the remaining mutants. Storm tries to recruit Young Jean Grey, but Jean is just trying to live a normal live these days. She does lead the X-Men to a strange anomaly, Old Man Logan, who somehow survived the destruction of Battleworld.

I know for the most part the X-Men books have always tried to deal with big issues, and they usually leads to some grimdark places, but that is just not the X-Men I want to read about. I like big action and adventure. I like the X-Men as a family…dysfunctional but still full of love for each other no matter how bad things got. Mutantkind on the brink of extinction with the X-Men fractured just does nothing for me as a reader. I genuinely got excited by the end of Uncanny #600 as it seemed like they were hinting that things would be better for a while. But, Extraordinary X-Men killed that hope.

I am also real sick of Cyclops as a bad guy who screws up everything and everyone hates. I have referred to this as Marvel’s constant character assassination of Scott Summers, and it seems to be no where near done. The odd part to me is that I still don’t quite get what Cyclops has ever done that makes him the bad guy. I never quite figured out what caused the Schism (even though I have read it twice, nothing in that book seemed severe enough to cause this massive split), and all his “bad actions” in Avengers Vs X-Men were the results of the Phoenix Force. But, for some reason, we’re all supposed to hate Cyclops. Hell, this time, we don’t even know what he did. Last time we saw him, he was doing a big mutants rally and everyone loved him. BUT, after that, something bad happened, and he’s the asshole of the universe again.

One thing that really surprised me about this book was Humberto Ramos’ art. I was not expecting him to be a real good fit for a main stream X-Men book. His art tends to be heavily stylized. I like when he does something like X-Nation or Impulse, but I hated his work on Amazing Spider-Man. Not sure if it’s just toned down and the inker he’s using, but this was a surprisingly toned down book for Ramos. I found myself really enjoying his work here.

The sad part is that this book was very well written, and I am sure it will appeal to a lot of people, but it’s just not my kind of X-Men book. I think it's important for a critic to know the difference between "not for me" and "not for anyone."  This book is just not for me.  While most of Marvel seems to be moving in a more light-hearted direction, the X-Men are still dwelling in grimdark land, and that just has no appeal to me. Your own personal preferences may vary.


Title: EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #1
Written By: Jeff Lemire
Art By: Humberto Ramos
Company: Marvel
Price: $4.99
Pros:
  • For what it is, it is very well written
  • Great art
  • I like the team selected here
Cons:
  • Cyclops continues to be Marvel's goat
  • Just not the type of X-Men book I enjoy.  Mutantkind on brink of extinction again.
Is it worth your $4.99? Hard to say.  $5 is always a tough sell for me, and while I did think it was well written and drawn, it's just not the type of X-Men book I usually go far.  I may stick around to give it a fair shot just because I like the mix of characters, but I'm not sure.  
Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0