A fresh start for Marvel’s Merry Mutants takes them to what is probably the hardest time for mutantkind thus far. Open hunt on mutants! Terrigen Mists killing and sterilizing anyone carrying an X-Gene! And… the return of Wolverine…?

EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #1 by Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos!

The New Marvel Universe is not exactly kind to Storm and her mutants. The Terrigen Mists, responsible for the powers of the Inhumans, have started killing and sterilizing Homo superior. While the Goddess of the weather has offered her people a safe haven and Magik keeps protecting the place and getting more and more innocents to safety, others have decided to retire from the superhero life. Jean is taking a timeout at the Empire State University, and Piotr dabbles at farming in Russia – and it will take their old friends and family to convince them to re-join the team. And in the end of the issue, there’s a surprise return of our favorite Canadian… just not quite the way Storm imagined it…

The issue starts off with a close-up of Storm’s face. “How did it come to this?”. Cut. We see the Indian government threatening a young and innocent mutant in New Delhi. We’re on the first page, and rising star Jeff Lemire already creates a lot of tension. And this is something he succeeds at during the entire issue. Every new page feels thrilling, and the way the main characters are being introduced one after another is just extremely fun to watch.

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This is also due to the fantastic art by Ramos. His extremely kinetic and dynamic style will undoubtedly make up for extremely many breathtaking action scenes in future issues, which can already be conjectured if we take a look at what he does with Nightcrawler in #1. It feels like the character is actually moving on the comic page. Which is probably one of the best compliments you can give a comic book artist. Needless to say, all the costume designs are fantastic, and the character’s emotions come across so great.

All the characters are also at a point in their development where it would make sense for them to be. Illyana has recently developed her magical abilities and harmonized with her brother Piotr. Jean already announced in UNCANNY X-MEN #600 that she would need a time outside of the X-Men to find herself, and due to some – still unknown – event related to Cyclops, she needs this time more than ever. Storm acts in a really strong way, but feels overwhelmed by what fate has in store for her people and is uncertain about what to do next. Some characters, such as Iceman, Nightcrawler and Old Man Logan, we did not yet really get any insight into, but I’m curious as to what Lemire is planning for them. Overall, the character portrayal in this first issue is extremely well done. The reader gets a pretty good impression as to where the characters are in their lives, what motivates them and what they fear. It all makes sense.

Read: My other X-Men review of UNCANNY X-MEN #600!

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The interaction between the characters, is, again, really believable, especially when it comes to the siblings that were just recently reunited. What Lemire is still struggling with though is dialogue, since the conversations between characters seem rushed and wooden from time to time. Which is a pity, because he actually manages to make the protagonists seem extremely human, and he’s cooking his own goose in a way. He does manage to create tension during the more action-packed scenes with fast-paced dialogues, but he has to learn to leave his characters time to converse in the calmer moments.

This brings me to the plot. A lot of the elements we have in this run, you could call recycled. Many mutants dead, no new mutants. A safe haven where most of mutants can unite. A strong leader trying to do what it takes to protect mutantkind. It’s all been there, done that, just a few years ago in the era between HOUSE OF M and AVX. In fact, many readers are worried about that. And even though Lemire has said repeatedly in interviews that the extinction storyline is just a really small aspect of what they’re planning for the mutants, that storyline pretty much dominates this first issue. I just really hope we’ll get to see more innovative arcs in the future of this book.

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After all, EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #1 did what any good first issue should do: get me on board for the book and get me excited about what is going to happen to the characters. I’m just hoping for a more innovative plot. Anyhow, I’m more than ready for this new era of X-Men comics to begin!

CLICK: Read more articles about the X-Men!

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