Extraordinary X-Men #1 will probably be seen as energetically drawn and colored sacrilege by both long time X-Men fans and ones, who jumped on with Bendis’ work. And for new fans, it’s darkness for darkness’ sake as the X-Men’s outsider metaphor is drowned out by the Inhumans and turned into yet another post-apocalyptic story. Lemire also makes a few stumbles in his plotting, like having characters tell about an upcoming mystery involving Cyclops and a cure for mutant disease instead of seeding compelling visual clues or starting to build arcs for characters. And his final page cliffhanger, which was probably meant to be the triumphant return of a “dead” X-Men, falls flat because it already happened in a Secret Wars tie-in. This is one is probably on editorial though. Even though Humberto Ramos’ manga influenced, yet wide-screen art adds some pep to the X-Men’s powers and fight scenes to go along with Edgar Delgado’s bold color palette, Extraordinary X-Men #1 is a misstep for the franchise in plotting, themes, and characterization.
Mark Millar and Adam Kubert’s work on Ultimate X-Men #1-3 really is the blockbuster action take on the X-Men, but there is enough flashes of characterization, pretty layouts (Not so much those ugly leather costumes.), and clever twists like Wolverine being a bona fide villain and Colossus’ old crime boss supplying Magneto with a nuke. It’s not a particularly deep comic and scratches the surface of the idea of “post-humanism”, but Ultimate X-Men #1-3 is adequate popcorn entertainment, which led to it selling like hotcakes. (Ultimate X-Men #1 was the number one book in December 2000 with 117,085 copies, and issues 2 and 3 stayed in the top 3 with numbers around the 90,000 range.)
After taking time last issue to decide what to do with the mysterious Black Vortex, the Guardians of the Galaxy and the X-Men finally come to blows with their cosmically transformed teammates. But while Star-Lord and the other heroes debate their next course of action, another hero may just lead the charge in his place…
Storm, easily Marvel’s most high-profile female African-American character (and of the first such characters in superhero comics), is a character whose most prominent and well-executed storyline occurred nearly two decades ago. In the mid-80s, longtime X-Men scribe Chris Claremont crafted a long story arc for Storm, which found her shedding her ethereal, goddess-esque image in the face of the burden of leadership and a desire to experience life more fully in favor of a more striking punk look and sensibility. Then, she lost her mutant powers and was forced to prove her worth as leader of the X-Men on her non-superpowered skills alone, a feat she accomplished with aplomb, continuing to lead the X-Men through some of their darkest hours (including the massacre of the Morlocks) before ultimately finding a way to restore her superpowers.