Home > comics, review > ‘X-Men First Class vol. 1’: a comics review

‘X-Men First Class vol. 1’: a comics review

X-Men First Class takes the X-Men franchise back to the mutant team’s origins. The back synopsis describes the series as the ‘hidden stories’ of the original X-Men line-up. For those who are unfamiliar with that line-up it is; Cyclops, Marvel Girl (Jean Grey), Beast, Angel, and Iceman. I partially wanted to review this in order to get some context for the forthcoming film of the same title which I’ll also review (the same thing I did with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen).

Writing:

Writer Jeff Parker takes the storytelling back to the Silver Age of Comics. This occurs with silly plots in each issue. The issues themselves being stand alones rather than having a cohesive plot. Considering that Parker is writing the X-Men in the earliest form, which was written in the Silver Age, this makes sense. Unfortunately, these stories don’t have the same appeal as they did before (or maybe that Silver Age storytelling doesn’t work with today’s comics). There are also multiple cameos, spread out through the collection, that distract from the main team. A few of the X-Men are spotlighted, but some are given little time (i.e Beast). These cameos aren’t particularly strong either. The most nitpicky complaint is the continuity flap. While it’s possible that these stories might have fit into the timeline of the original X-Men stories, the reference of time doesn’t work at all. Iceman references in the first issue about e-mail. This contradicts the setting of the ’60s that first X-Men stories took place. In general, X-Men First Class doesn’t have the strengths of the larger X-Men stories in terms of the storytelling.

Art:

The art for the series, done by Roger Cruz, is fairly standard. The colors and tone of character design suggest that these stories are far more relaxed than the typical X-Men adventure. There’s nothing special. It just reinforces the Silver Age style of writing. The covers on the other hand are fantastic are amazing. With art done by Marko Djurdjevic and Kevin Nowlan. The covers for the series are some of the best designs I’ve seen for X-Men related works. I believe think they serve to oversell the series, since the exterior designs tens to be greater than that of the interior. Cruz’s art is standard, but fits the narrative, and the Djurdjevic and Nowlan covers are awesome.

Final Opinion:

X-Men First Class had a large amount of potential to be something great. The finished product doesn’t meet this expectation. If the writing had been sharper, or the interior art more interesting, there would be something to see in this series. With better X-Men series’ out there (out-of-the god-how-many-of-them) X-Men First Class is easy ignore. I would look to somewhere else if you want a good X-Men read, and only come to First Class if you just want to kill time with mediocre comics.

X-Men is owned by Marvel Comics. It’s written by Jeff Parker, with art by Roger Cruz.

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