Title: X-Men Forever, Vol 1: Picking Up Where We Left Off
Authors: Chris Claremont, illustrated by Tom Grummett
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Challenge: 100 Books 10, 1010 Challenge
Comics icon and New York Times bestselling writer Chris Claremont returns to his legendary run with X-Men Forever! The shockwaves after the death of Magneto are still reverberating all over the world. Attempting to heal the rift between man and mutant kind, Professor Xavier volunteers his X-Men to go on a mission to capture Magneto's sole remaining Acolyte, Fabien Cortez! But with Nick Fury - and the entire world - watching over their shoulders, the stakes have never been higher for Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Gambit, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Storm, Beast, and Professor X. With Tom Grummet bringing Claremont's vision to the page, this landmark series is packed with enough surprises and twists to shake the X-Men mythos to its very core! Collects X-Men Forever #1-5.
Chris Claremont ended his original run on the X-Men with the third issue of the X-Men, back in 1991. Jump ahead almost twenty years, and X-Men Forever basically picks up after that third issue, following a sort of What If? storyline, with the concept being Claremont never having left the series. I don't know if I'd go so far as to call this a "landmark comics event" (as it is self-described), but I will say that that is an interesting take on the X-Men.
The story basically picks right up after the death of Magneto and the Acolytes, with the X-Men on the search for Fabian Cortez, the true villain of the original story arc. Nick Fury and SHIELD have stepped in, deeming it necessary to have government officials watching over the X-Men and their doings (shades of events that happened later on in the "real" X-Men timeline in the Decimation storyline). The X-Men capture Cortez, but barely have time to get home and lick their wounds before Storm apparently goes crazy and attacks the X-Men, leaving one of their number dead. This is where I started to feel really confused. Claremont had already turned one of the plot threads from the original series on its ear (Wolverine and Jean Grey...), but now one of the longest standing X-Men may in fact be a villain? Well, he comes up with a possible answer to this question and one that actually has me wanting to read the next volume to see how he's going to explain Storm's actions.
Tom Grummett's art is good. He's no Jim Lee, but he does an admirable job in keeping with the overall look of the characters from the original series.
Overall, an interesting return to some of my favorite characters in the X-Men. Don't both reading this if you never read at least the first three issues of the original X-Men series. If you have read those issues and are interested in seeing what Chris Claremont has come up with in returning to the series, I'd say at least pick up this first volume. He makes some seriously drastic changes to some of the characters, but I honestly interested to see where he's taking these changes.