Review: EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #2

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EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #2
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, and Edgar Delgado
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 18, 2015

Things have gotten much worse for mutants in Jeff Lemire’s dystopian story: mutants face extinction from Terrigen Mists and increased violence from humans. Since the X-Men were first introduced, decades of readers have identified with the mutant metaphor of being part of a marginalized group. Lemire examines this metaphor from surprising angles in a mature, nearly grim story. This is not a lighthearted issue, but it is a memorable and important one.

Storm, Old Man Logan (Wolverine from a future timeline), and the time-displaced teenage Jean Grey are the central characters. I like how Lemire intersperses fun scenes of Magik and Colossus’ side quest with the main story. We also get Storm’s internal monologue about her stress trying to lead mutants through this crisis. With every text box, we feel Storm’s hope dwindle. Lemire writes it with gravity and authenticity.

Jean confronts bigotry against mutants in this issue’s most impactful and skillfully written scene. Lemire prompts us to think about marginalized people, including those who “pass” in a majority culture and those who don’t. Jean intervenes on behalf of a targeted person. The scene’s outcome illustrates the damage done when those in a marginalized group refuse to stand with other marginalized groups. Lemire is exploring timely, relevant themes.

Humberto Ramos and Victor Olazaba’s art is simply stunning. Logan’s flashbacks to the X-Men’s tragic fate look haunting with their heavily hashed, thickly inked panels. Edgar Delgado’s ability to contrast these eerie moments with happy, glossy scenes like Jean’s bar adventure is magical. Delgado’s expansive blue backgrounds during a conversation between Storm and Logan convey the wilderness setting. This artistic team does flawless work in bright spreads such as when Jean’s telekinetic powers are on full display.

Jeff Lemire cements the X-Men as more than a superhero team: they are the resilient survivors we aspire to be like. With every page, Lemire gives us hope that outsiders and underdogs can be leaders fighting for good. Jean’s experience and her decision to stand up for another make this issue one of the year’s best comics. Lemire and Ramos create an irresistible story that is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining.

The Verdict: 10/10

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2 Comments

  1. theTS said:

    Nice to see a generous review! The only other review of this I read, the author knocked it for being to depressing (?!). Great writing and art in this book.

  2. Scott Gregson said:

    It was good. I don’t know if it’s 10/10 good – the story feels SO MUCH like it’s just “going through the paces” in reconstructing the team. Each of the member OF the team, and the characterisations has plenty of potential, that’s for sure. Forge making cool new stuff. Stoic Storm as leader. Bffs Kurt and Piotr. And it was GREAT to see a big, bad turn up… But having read “getting the band back together” iddues of X-Men over and over again with each “exciting new direction” this feels really worn out. Get to the good stuff, Mr Lemire! And so, while this comic is one thing, and I’m wanting it to be another, that shouldn’t affect the comics quality. But as a review, or as a comment ABOUT a review, it affects what I think of the issue itself. Just… just fight the fight! Tell us later how you guys got together! GAH!

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