Psylocke is hit by a psychic attack which forces her to call for help. The called mutants arrive to help forming a new X-Men team to take on her attacker… the Shadow King.
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Jim Cheung
Colourists: Richard Isanove & Rain Beredo
With a $4.99 price in a time when two good X-Men books are released bi-weekly at $3.99 each is there room for this X-Men book in your pull list?
I have to admit that I read this comic with a much more critical eye than usual. I’d consider myself an X-Men fan. They’re among my favourite heroes. But I just don’t know if I can afford another book. So I read this with the intention to decide after one issue if I’d continue with the series. And I can say that after #1 I will. Here’s why:
Soule is offering a distinctly X-Men book that varies from what is already out there. If you want some Claremont style X-Men go for Gold. If you’re more into the teen aspect then Blue is your book. If you want some sci-fi heavy action then it looks like Astonishing is the one for you. This issue introduced each character of the team in a way that wasn’t patronising. There’s a good chance most readers know all these people so tedious text boxes explaining their powers are unnecessary. On the other hand if you don’t know who any of these are, Soule has summed up their characters well in one issue to help you.
The story itself takes a while to get going but once it does it really satisfies. I don’t know how long it’s been since there was a story that took place in the astral plane. It certainly feels like the TV show Legion might have inspired Soule somewhat. Despite this the issue still feels very X-Men. There’s a constant focus on teamwork. Something I feel had been missing pre Gold and Blue.
As for the team it’s a good mix of characters. There’s one from every era really. you’ve got your Gambit and Rogue, Bishop and Beast. Old Man Logan is here doing his usual. Beast looks nothing like he did the last I saw him but that was Bendis’ run so I don’t know what’s meant to have happened to him. Fantomex, Angel and Psylocke are on the team giving some X-Force vibes. I’d happily pay anything for a series with Fantomex so here we are. Pairing him with Gambit is perfect.
Jim Cheung is on the art duties and he does a fine job. I don’t think I’ve seen any of his work before so I must say he has a strong resemblance to John Romita Jr. This won’t be for everyone. All the characters have that Romita Jr. squareness to them.
Overall, I enjoyed the issue. It delivered plenty to keep me entertained as well as a few surprises to ensure I picked up the next issue to.
Recommendation: pick up the issue.