Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Finally, the long-awaited debut of the X-Men in the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe has arrived with one of Marvel’s biggest recent acquisitions, Jeff Lemire, at the helm. Lemire’s work on titles such as Animal Man, Bloodshot, Sweet Tooth, and Underwater Welder has been highly-praised and his recent run on All-New Hawkeye made for a solid introduction into the Marvel universe. However, Lemire has always shined brightest when writing solo characters. Books where he has had to juggle an entire team of superheroes, namely Justice League United, have not reached the same level of critical acclaim or fan excitement as his solo-character driven series. Although the buzz around Lemire taking on the flagship X-Men title has been fairly loud, this issue gives us a pretty decent glimpse of the direction Lemire plans to take the mutants in.
The book opens with Storm, who appears to still hold her pre-Secret Wars role of headmistress of the Jean Grey School, fretting over an unnamed yet massive threat to the existence of mutantkind. We then cut to Magik, who has traveled to India to retrieve a new mutant. It is here that we learn that the fear and hatred of mutants that has long been a hallmark of the X-Men mythos is as healthy as ever, as military troops have surrounded the young mutant with guns drawn. As they open fire in the direction of the young mutant and her family, Magik teleports the family back to the school, which, we find out, is no longer in Westchester, but in a new, unknown location. Soon after, Storm comes to the decision that the current way of doing things cannot be sustained – if mutants are to survive, they must reunite the X-Men.
From there, we see the efforts of the team (consisting of Storm, Iceman, and Magik) to recruit some of their old teammates (time-displaced Jean Grey, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Old Man Logan) to the cause. We also learn the cause of Storm’s concern, which I won’t spoil but will say that it’s something that could potentially wipe out the mutant race and may send the X-Men hurdling toward a massive conflict with another extremely powerful group in the near future.
Lemire delivers a solid debut issue here. This one is all about exposition and building the team that Lemire will take on whatever adventures he has in store. The lineup is solid, and one that will appeal to classic X-Men fans. The story presented here is very straightforward, and each character seems to have a real purpose on the team, which is an encouraging sign for those who wondered about Lemire’s ability to write a team book without making things muddled or overly complex. As far as the art goes, if you’re a fan of Humberto Ramos’s style, you’ll love it. If, like me, you’re not always crazy about his work (I think a lot of his characters tend to look too child-like), you’ll find some things you like and some things you don’t. Colossus’s new look is really cool, and Ramos does a great job on Old Man Logan’s look (one I was really worried about). However, there are some panels where Storm looks really distorted which could be fairly distracting.