YES! YES!! YES!!! This comic was all that I had hoped for and then some. Jonathan Hickman (East of West, S.H.I.E.L.D.) right off the bat establishes a new status quo for the X-men. This did not feel like a greatest hits album at all. Just like his first issue of Fantastic Four, he established that he gets these characters and this universe, but every single page pushes forward…
Xavier, Magneto and the other X-men create an island nation of their own, Krakoa. This doesn’t sit too well with some of the world governments. To assuage their fears, Xavier offers plants from Krakoa that can be used to make revolutionary medicines. All they ask in return is to be left alone. Of course, when it comes to the X-men, when they ask to be left alone, their request is never honored.
Hickman’s dialogue is crisper than any of his prior Marvel work and his pacing is just pitch perfect. Also, there were so many times when the X-Men were written by either people who wrote very problematic stories — or they tried to be woke — yet didn’t understand the social dynamics of being oppressed. Hickman, in one exchange between Cyclops and the Fantastic Four, just nails it. You can tell that he’s quite motivated. Pepe Larraz (X-Force, Extermination) and Marte Gracia (All-New X-Men, Hulk) create a beautiful landscape for Krakoa, dense cityscapes when in other locales and quite dynamic action sequences. This creative team has chemistry and then some.
I’ve never been the biggest X-Men fan, but a few runs stick out as being quality reading. Claremont’s seminal run for sure. Waid’s and Seagle/Kelly’s runs were bright spots in an otherwise convoluted 90s era. Liu, Taylor and Bunn wrote some interesting tales. But, for the most part, ever since the phenomenal Morrison>Whedon>Brubaker era, the franchise has felt rudderless; a bunch of books, each doing their own thing, in some cases contradicting the other books. A shot in the arm was desperately needed and Hickman gave it.
This is easily the best X-Men comic I’ve read in a decade. 6/5 X-Bibles.