I consider myself a comics geek even though it’s been years since I read comics with anything remotely resembling regularity. I pick up the occasional trade paperback or graphic novel every now and then, but I really haven’t been a serious reader since the 90s.
Image via GoComics.
My favorite team book back then was the Chris Claremont and Jim Lee run of X-Men. So, when I recently scored a free copy of X-Treme X-Men #1 (courtesy of the comic’s scribe, Greg Pak) I was really looking forward to seeing what a modern take on the series had to offer.
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This incarnation of the X-Men all come from one of many infinitely different realities within the “Multiverse” with the exception of Dazzler, who comes from the standard Marvel Universe.
This gives Pak tremendous liberty to write these characters however he pleases without the limitations of decades worth of continuity to constrain him (or legions of comic nerdboys to contend with
if he violates canon). He uses this asset with aplomb, so that even though the characters are recognizable they are unique.
For example, the X-Treme version of Wolverine still has claws that go “SNIKT!” when they pop out, but as the former “Governor General of Dominion of Canada and Viceroy of Her Majesty’s Expidition to Shagri-La” he seems much more stable and much less of a berserker.
Emmaline Frost-Summers still treats everyone like she’s better than them (waiting to see how different she is). Emma Frost was never a favorite character of mine and she didn’t have the chance to change that impression this time around either.
Nightcralwer is now a Califorinian teen instead of an angsty German adult. Again, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this character. What little I remember of Nightcrawler was him poofing in and out of sight with a “BAMF!” and a whiff of brimstone and him always referring to everybody as “mein freunde” Similarly, he had limited opportunities to make me like him.
Let’s not forget about Professor Xavier, or rather Professor Xavier’s head which floats around in a jar like Richard Nixon on Futurama.
Oh, and then there’s Dazzler. This comes as the biggest surprise to me of all. Dazzler. Really?!? I mean, isn’t this the same disco-singing, roller-skating, Xandadu-castoff-looking, my-mutant-power-is-turning-sound-into-light X-man from the early 80s? Casting Dazzler as a lead and not a supporting character may be the gutsiest thing Pak does, and it could also have huge dividends. I’m looking forward to seeing where he takes her and how she evolves.
And now for the plot …
When a legion of floating Charles Xavier heads band together to teleport the entire population of a dying world the results are good and bad.
- Good: everything from the dying world has been saved
- Bad: there are now 10 evil Charles Xaviers from other realities—each more dangerous than the last—hellbent on destroying all of creation
Issue #1 ends with the Faux-verine doing what he does best in any reality and the new team being teleported by Xavier’s floating head to find and defeat the first of the other ten Evil Xaviers.
No sir, this ain’t yer daddy’s X-Men. Heck, it only vaguely resembles my X-Men—and that’s a great thing!
X-Treme X-Men #1 was a good book with a nice hook into the next issue. Despite, some initial quirkiness, this was an X-Tremely (couldn’t help myself, sorry) fun read and I can’t wait to see where Pak and team take this new band of misfit mutants.
You can pick up your copy of X-Treme X-Men #1 wherever comics are sold. If you prefer to read your comics digitally check it out on Comixology.
Want a peak at Greg Pak’s work? Download the Vision Machine trade paperback for free from his site.
What was that last comic you read? Sound off in the comments below. Excelsior!
All images via Marvel Characters, Inc, unless otherwise noted.