I have been a fan of the X-Men ever since I first saw the X-Men: The Animated Series as a kid. It ran for countless episodes on TV alongside all the other classic animated shows that hit me with nostalgia at the mere thought of them. I remember those innocent times where I couldn’t stop myself from getting excited to see these mutants in action and to be among them at their iconic school every single time. While my love for DC remained insurmountable, I always had a soft side for both the X-Men and Spider-Man (the latter being my favourite Marvel hero) and their animated series really helped me grow fond for these heroes over the years.
As part of Marvel’s latest relaunch of the X-Men, writer Jonathan Hickman alongside artists Pepe Larraz, R.B. Silva, and Marte Gracia, began the Dawn of X event that would give these heroes a unique new narrative within the Marvel Universe that is likely to blow everyone’s mind.
Although I’m not done playing catchup with many of these series that have spawned from this relaunch, I’ve been having quite some fun discovering this new X-Men universe! Here’s a look at some of the stories that I’ve read so far.
This feature published at an undetermined frequency (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, who knows) will present a couple of mini reviews on anything that isn’t a physical book that I own (ebooks, comic books, TV series or movies).
Click on the covers to be redirected to their Goodreads page.
Anything presented in this feature doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t get a full-review treatment in the future. That will entirely depend on how much I loved it, how interested you are in hearing more on it, and how much I have to still say about it! 🤣
Wolverine: Origin by Paul Jenkins.
Speaking of relaunch, this one has nothing to do with it but I thought, why not? This one is a stand-alone graphic novel that dared do try to deliver one of the most taboo stories in the history of Marvel comics: an origin story for Wolverine. While the idea in itself isn’t bad, it simply had too much to live up to and this creative team just couldn’t get the execution right.
There are some neat ideas sprinkled across this graphic novel but its style was never really going to take off in my books. There was a subtle dullness that kept on striking me down as I moved forward with the narrative. The art style didn’t help either but did give this story its own personality, something akin to reading an Oliver Twist story, you know?
House of X/Powers of X by Jonathan Hickman.
This is the ginormous story that officially kicks off the X-Men relaunch. The story explores Charles Xavier’s master plan for mutantkind as he figuratively builds a bridge that will allow them to crawl out of the shadows and become part of human affairs, and it all begins with the creation of a new haven made just for mutants called Krakoa.
This was such an epic way to rebuild the X-Men universe and allow it to have even more scope than ever before. The structure in this one is quite complex but once you get used to the flow, you start understanding how the pieces move together and it’s simply stunning to watch it all develop.
Speaking of stunning, the artwork is quite wonderful and really brings to life the colourful new environments introduced throughout this story-arc.
X-Men (Vol. 1) by Jonathan Hickman.
Following the events in House of X/Powers of X, this story explores the X-Men’s rise for independence as they set in motion their meticulously-planned ideas. This first story-arc maintains the same narrative structure as it explores multiple subplots, some more mysterious than others, teasing the reader of the challenges that the X-Men will be facing externally and internally. This new world order is really nothing you want to mess with.
Excalibur (Vol. 1) by Tini Howard.
This series explores the dilemmas of the Otherworld as Captain Britain becomes the center of attention in this story-arc. While Rogue, Gambit, Rictor, and Jubilee work together, whether they want to or not, to stop the incoming threat from the Otherworld, Apocalypse (and his fascination for his new and unreadable name) enters the scene with a mysterious plan amidst the rise of the mutants’ new home: Krakoa.
There’s something original and interesting to this series, especially with the characterization of these heroes that are done quite well, but the story remains relatively mundane and a bit too stretched out. With great artwork making it a dynamic and vibrant experience, it shows great promise for things to come.
New Mutants (Vol. 1) by Jonathan Hickman.
This was a pretty decent story that focuses on the New Mutants (Sunspot, Wolfsbane, Mirage, Karma, Magik and Cypher) within this new era of the X-Men. The downside is that it doesn’t really give readers a good idea of who these young adults really are and the story sometimes derails to the point of losing the reader along the way, making it harder to appreciate what happens later on.
The premise is essentially some kind of rescue mission that sends these guys off to space to find their comrade Cannonball but then they somehow get caught and there’s a whole side-plot related to their intergalactic sentence. Let’s just say that it was fun discovering these guys but the story needed more direction.
I think the main problem lies in how the comic book series single issues were shared with another ongoing New Mutants series written by Ed Brisson (this one exploring a completely other story with other members of the New Mutants) and collecting issues #3-4, 6, and 8-12.
Marauders (Vol. 1) by Gerry Duggan.
Imagine the X-Men but… turned into pirates! This was one of the stronger series that was born from the X-Men relaunch. This story focuses on Kate Pryde who, unfortunately, runs into a problem as she attempts to enter Krakoa and is thus led to becoming a pirate captain to a crew that vows to save mutants. The Marauders aren’t without their own enemies with the arrival of Sebastian Shaw though. With excellent artwork, there’s something truly appealing to how this story is told and developed. The political tie-ins with the larger plans in development makes this a wonderful surprise series for fans out there!