Title: X-Men, Vol 1: Primer
Authors: Brian Wood, art by Oliver Coipel & David Lopez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Available: December 10, 2013
Rating: 3/5 stars
- John Sublime
- Shogo Lee
- Rachel Grey
- Kitty Pryde
- Karima Shapandar
This started off as a great premise, with the women of the X-Men getting their own title. However, what could have been a pretty cool first story arc was compressed into a rushed and cobbled together three issue mess. Sublime has returned, and this time he's asking for the X-Men's help as his sister, Arkea, has made her way to Earth and will destroy everything. Or something like that.
In a wildly coincidental coincidence, Jubilee just happened to take a baby from a hospital near where a meteor crashed. This meteor happened to be carrying the Arkea microbe, which just happened to attach itself to the baby that Jubilee rescued (kidnapped?), and Sublime knew this and then proceeded to follow Jubilee on her around-the-world trek to get to the X-Men, because she's freaked out that some guy keeps following her. I mean, I know that comics are the ultimate suspension of disbelief, but really? All of this is way too convenient to place all the people in the right place at the right time to make this story work.
Arriving at the Jean Grey School, Sublime enlists the help of the senior X-Men members there (who happen to all be women - I haven't been keeping up as much as I should, but where did all the guys go at this school?) to help him intercept Jubilee before she gets to the school, but of course it's too late for that! Arkea is already in the school's security system (she travels via technology, apparently - so where does that leave Jubilee's baby?) and eventually makes her way into Karima Shapandar, who has been in a forced coma to recover from a battle from quite some time ago. Beast, the only guy around, is incapacitated rather quickly, leaving the women to take on Arkea, who has escaped in Shapandar's body to the location of the original meteor crash. Kitty Pryde is left behind to fix the mess left over at the school, and along with some of the students, discovers a mysterious box counting down to zero. But, what's the box for? Who knows.
Anyway, Storm, Psylocke, Rogue, Rachel Grey, and Jubilee (with the baby, because taking a baby into battle is always a good idea) track down Arkea to the hospital where Jubilee got the baby. After a quick battle, Psylocke is in the position to kill Shapandar in order to eliminate Arkea, and Storm wants her to do this, but Rachel tells her to stop, as Shapandar could still be in there somewhere. Which she is, and she overcomes Arkea at the last minute, thereby setting up tension in the team about what lengths they'll go to to get a job done.
All of that in three issues.
I thought this could have been a cool story, but just way too crammed to make it work well. Brian Wood does good with what he has, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out that he had to pare this story way down to make room for the Battle of the Atom storyline that follows shortly hereafter (same with the Magik/Darkchylde storyline running concurrently over in Uncanny X-Men).
The fourth issue in the collection starts off with the X-Women in the Blackbird. I assumed that this story takes place right after the initial story, but nope, Kitty Pryde is here and Jubilee is absent, and the X-Women just happen to be in the jet, flying off somewhere. That somewhere just happens to pass over a commercial jet that has lost an engine, so they need to work together, put aside their personal issues after the Shapandar/Arkea debacle, and save the flight! So coincidental again that they are in the right place at the right time!
The other portion of this issue deals with Jubilee hanging out with the baby and Wolverine on the beach and in the mall that we first encountered her way back in Uncanny X-Men #244. Honestly, not a whole lot happens here, except Jubilee and Wolverine having a heart to heart about her wanting to be a mom now to a baby that I'm still not sure whether she's kidnapped or not. I think this issue could have been scrapped to give Brian Wood at least one more issue to work with for the previous arc.
And because at $18, Marvel can't justify only collecting 4 issues, they also throw in the previously mentioned Uncanny X-Men #244 by Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri. I loved Claremont's writing back in the day, but seeing his writing put up against current writers, and it's clear just how clunky his writing could be sometimes.
Anyway, a series with a lot of potential, but not given the right amount of time to establish itself before throwing it into a multi-book crossover. I'll keep reading, as Brian Wood's writing is usually very good, and Oliver Coipel's art is beautiful. I hadn't seen David Lopez's art before that I'm aware of, and it isn't bad, but it doesn't live up to Coipel's, in my opinion. If you're a fan of the X-Women, I'd pick this up, but I think we need to wait until after the Battle of the Atom story concludes to really see it hit its stride.
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