With the incredible amount of X-Men titles on the stands nowadays, it seems an incredibly daunting task to figure out which ones are worth reading. Although a lot has gone down for Cyclops and the gang in the past few years, nothing has been exceedingly noteworthy for Xavier’s (graduated) students. It’s not because the books aren’t good, or because there’s a lack of suspense, rather it’s because the X-Men always seem to live in their own little X-bubble, ignoring much of what is happening in the rest of the Marvel Universe. However, this all seems to be changing little by little, and it’s thanks to books like this. Yost and company (there are way too many names on the cover to list them all) have done a great job in this arc to reincorporate the X-Men back into the Marvel Universe. The First to Last story provides nostalgia for the past while still tying into current X-Men trends, offering a perfect mix of old and new. So if you’re wondering which X-titles to read on a monthly basis, this is one of them. Read on for the skinny…
“’FIRST TO LAST’
Who are the Evolutionaries and why doesn’t anyone remember when they fought Xavier and his original five X-Men? Cyclops and his crew on Utopia better figure out quick or the Evolutionaries are going to wipe out every human on the planet. That’s right, every HUMAN. Two issues of this huge story this month both showing X-Men/Evolutionary action in the past and in the present. And it’s all thanks to Christopher Yost (X-FORCE), amazing regular artist Paco Medina and the always classic Dalibor Talijic (HITMONKEY)!”
Yost doesn’t revert to the past using some tasteless time warp or alternate timeline, but simply by returning to events that happened when Xavier’s goal was still peace for mutantkind. It jogs the memory of both reader and X-Men of a simpler time, when there was still so much to look forward to. By returning the past, it highlights the change between the X-Men of old, and the small army that Cyclops has assembled on Utopia. The glory days of X-Men, along with their hopes, are over; all they’re left with are lost loved ones, confused leaders, and an uncertain future. In this arc, the X-Men come face to face with the Evolutionaries, a group of creepy, all-powerful half-robots who are trying to ensure the “survival” of mutants, and the destruction of humanity.
As intriguing as the storyline is, it isn’t really the reason why I chose this book for my pick of the week. The X-Men have been my favorite group of heroes since I was a little boy watching Saturday morning cartoons (I know, it’s sappy). For some reason, I haven’t been the biggest X-book reader over the past few years, but this book is bringing me back into the X-Men universe with a newfound appreciation (cue sentimental music). The writing isn’t conventional by any means, but it’s exactly the fresh take the X-Men need to bring them back into the Marvel Universe. The mix of old and new X-Men, the throwback costumes, and the character development is a treat to any X-fan. On top of all this, it’s easy to follow if you don’t know about everything that’s been going on recently with Utopia and all that jazz.
Childhood reminiscing aside, the artwork penciled by Medina, and colored by a crapload of others, is diverse and works with both the old and new X-Men styles. The contrast between the past and present is magnificent and you can almost feel the change that certain characters have undergone. Cyclops’ character is particularly noteworthy in this story, and the creative team fully brings him to life as the new leader of the X-Men.
With Schism on its way, and the X-Men: First Class film receiving so much praise, deemed by some as “the best” Marvel film to date, Marvel should be looking to capitalize on this and bring the X-Men back into full form. If Yost, and others, continue to do great work on the newest X-titles, I can only hope that we’ll see the X-Men more fully integrated into some events in the near future. Whether you’re a long time fan or new to the world of comics, this X-book’s got it all. Make way for the new (or old) wave of mutants!
“X-Men” Issue #13 Drops June 15th From Marvel Comics! (MSRP – $3.99)