People were nervous when it was first announced, but ResurrXion has breathed new life into an X-Men line that had some struggles in the recent years. There is a sense of cohesiveness in all of these books that was really missing recently. Maybe it is the tone, maybe it is as simple as the trade dress, but ResurrXion is more or less working. It has brought the X-Men back to prominence. With all the initial announced titles released (and Astonishing X-Men still to come) I wanted to do a quick recap on how each book is doing. Starting from my least favorite and working to the cream of the crop.
There are two classic X-Men elements that have never resonated with me, Space operas and Weapon X. It might stem from me not being much of a Wolverine solo fan but every time there is a return to Weapon X, it misses something. They are just a generic evil organization with an obsession with adamantium claws and this story has given me no reason to believe otherwise. Greg Pak is a capable X-Men writer but he is missing something with this title. Old Man Logan doesn’t feel any different than regular Wolverine and taking four issues to get the cast together feels like a costly mistake. The art by Greg Land is par for the course and often distracting. To top it all off, having the whole story lead to a crossover with an unrelated book, requiring a reader to buy six additional issues. That was enough for me to drop it with three.
Cable can be a fascinating character, but the first issue by Robinson and Pachecosure isn’t. The idea of Cable jumping through the old West or feudal Japan should be exciting. Instead, we get a story that feels like a direct to VHS action movie from the 90’s. If Robinson wasn’t playing this straight I would be more inclined to enjoy it, but as of now, it is a book that does nothing. It isn’t bad enough to justify hating and it isn’t interesting enough to like. It is a book that I feel nothing for and I dropped it after two. Though the promise of Doop in the future is enough for me to come back.
I’ve often said that Iceman had problems sticking as a character. With the outing of the character in 2014 Bobby Drake had something unique to add to the world of superheroes, but Sina Grace’s series falls short. The book doesn’t delve enough into the character of Iceman for a book that should be character focused. Bobby, as presented here, is a series of dull jokes (where laughing at them ironically stopped being funny by the third page) and uncomfortable moments. There is some legitimately good material to be mined from a character coming out later in life, but the first two issues feel repetitious. The action feels mandatory; it meets a quota for a superhero book but doesn’t add anything to the story. To his defense, Grace is adding a bunch of new mutants that seem interesting and he can have affecting character moments. But this book, much like Iceman, is suffering from an identity crisis. It doesn’t want to go full indie character story or superhero epic. Iceman has potential but it has a long way to go before it realizes it.
Old Man Logan
Jeff Lemire’s run on Old Man Logan lost some steam with its last arc but stuck the landing with the last issue. He was able to do that by tapping into what makes Old Man Logan unique compared to the regular Wolverine. Rising star Ed Brisson and veteran artist Mike Deodato try to do the same thing with their first issue but miss the mark. Lemire tapped into Logan’s guilt about his family, which worked throughout the run. Brisson bringing the Hulk Gang, arguably the worst part of the original Old Man Logan, doesn’t have the same resonance that Logan’s family does. Still The Maestro, essentially Old Man Banner, opens up a great duality for Brisson to explore. Brisson does a good job giving Old Man Logan a distinct voice and Deodato’s art has the grit this story needs. It faces an uphill battle after Lemire and Sorrentino’s strong run on the title, but Brisson and Deodato’s Old Man Logan has a lot of potential. It feels too early to tell with this one.
X-Men: Gold is easily the least consistent book of the line. I alternate between loving an issue and being bored out of my mind. Marc Guggenheim is doing a stellar job with about half the cast and absolutely nothing with the other half. In fact, he seems to care more about his guest stars than Storm, Colossus, or Nightcrawler. The art by Adrian Syaf and R.B. Salva has been consistently rushed and hasn’t achieved the quality a flash ship book should have. That being said, Guggenheim is setting up some interesting threads for the future and I am excited to see where it goes. The double shipping coupled with short arcs have kept the book moving just fast enough to ignore some of the flaws. Now that the line is more established I hope they take the restraints off of him and let Marc tell the stories he so obviously wants to.
While Gold seems bogged down by nostalgia X-Men: Blue has almost weaponized it. Writer Cullen Bunn is a documented fan of the weird corners of the X-Men universe and it shows in this book. Whether exploring the dwindling years of the Ultimate Universe or reveling in 90’s continuity, Bunn is finding success in the discarded ideas of other writers. More impressively, he has given the Original Five X-Men their own arc that doesn’t revolve around facing their future selves. The book loses points for me by being a whole lot of set up that hasn’t paid off yet. Five issues in and I am not sure if this book has a cohesive direction. In addition, the double shipping makes it hard for the title to establish an art style. If X-Men: Blue can pull all its good threads together it has the potential to be among the best books in this line.
The most consistent book in the All-New All-Different era continues to hold that same level of quality in ResurrXion. All-New Wolverine by Tom Taylor is consistently a joy to read. This is Laura with the depth I have always wanted from her. More than a sexed up, killer teen, this Laura is written like the true successor to Wolverine right down to the young girl mentee. And speaking of, what more is there to say about Gabby that hasn’t already been said? She is the ray of sunshine the X-Men books needed. While Leonard Kirk’s art hasn’t met the same highs as the previous artists on the book he still does the clean and expressive work that this title needs. There are few books I would recommend without reservation but this is one of them.
The thesis of ResurrXion was looking back to move forward and no book exemplifies that more than Generation X. Like the original Lobdell/Bachalo run, the misfits in this book make it work. Writer Christian Strain immediately developed strong, unique voices for her cast. She brings a diversity viewpoint that is missing from the rest of the X-Men line. Her dialogue is funny and touching, and impressive start for a less established writer. Artist Amilcar Pinna did what Chris Bachalo did on the original book, he created a unique visual language for the book. It is very clear with odd angles and proportions that don’t quite fit in, much like the students the book focuses on. His style isn’t for everyone but this book needed an artist as shocking as Pinna. This won’t be a book for everyone, the cast is odd, the art is stylized, and the plot is still growing. This book, however, will resonate with fans who are open to more than repeating the past on an infinite loop, and that has me excited for the future.
The misconception that many readers have about Original Five Jean is that she is perfect. That she is the St. Jean that everyone, in and out of universe, has retconned her to be. In reality, she is a girl fighting against what everyone wants and expects from her. Writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Victor Ibañez understand that about Jean and use that to amazing effect in Jean Grey. These two are no strangers to this version of Jean, Hopeless wrote a very similar character in X-Men: Season One, and Ibañez defined her visually in Extraordinary X-Men. This book exceeds the high expectations that have been held for these creators and blossomed into something beautiful. It is a fully realized Jean Grey, with all the anger and imperfections that people have forgotten about. This is a girl raging against the biggest boogie man the X-Men have, unwilling to stand by and be burned by it. It is a must read for every X-Fan.