Written by Brian Wood
Art by Olivier Coipel
Released Date: May 29, 2013
Mystery, action and a baby. No, it’s not a third installment to the Three Men movie series. As promised its female power leading the Marvel NOW! relaunch of X-Men with only two male character the entire issue. (Really it’s more one male character and a single panel cameo by another.) In this introduction Jubilee, Rogue, Kitty, Storm, Phoenix and Psylocke are all utilized.
For those who are familiar with the X-Men team this book is littered with references to powers, people and general life at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. For those who have never picked up an X-Men book in their life it’s more of a quick glimpse that needs to be expanded upon, but just enough to build interest. If you’re new, you could do a quick internet search if you just have to know their complete power sets. Not necessary, though, with little subtle uses and discussions happening throughout the story.
The mystery of the main storyline is put into place first, not around the women of the team, but around a sibling rivalry… or war. In this fashion the women are more of a framework from which the story hangs by. Hopefully this is something that is more for establishing the antagonist of this first arc. Single character features in future issues would be helpful for catching up those whom might be reading about this area of the Marvel universe for the first time. This book focuses on the group, as a whole. While a few more panels are given to Jubilee, it is all action driven. This story could easily have focused on the group in a cliché style of looking at women, motherly instincts or giving them a “backseat” passive attitude. Instead, Brian Wood does what any action comic should do: focus on the fact that these are heroes drawn into a mystery where people need their help.
Each of the team members are given a style or vibe through Olivier Coipel’s pencils that seem to work together without making each of their faces look exactly the same. Slight variations of key facial features, select shading and cross hatching blend beautifully with Laura Martin’s colors. Coipel & Mark Morales’ inking adds to the dramatic flare of helping the characters stand out with stark inking lines around profiles. Instead of standing out or being distracting, it gives the characters almost a three-dimensional feel when there is a close up of their face. The whole effect is a dynamically rendered book which makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a prime time action/drama.
While we do not normally link to outside reviews, I do think it is worth mentioning that the 9 year-old daughter of blogger Keith Silva (@keithpmsilva) wrote her own review of this book. She summarizes some of the best aspects of this book and a great “ultimate goal” for this cast of characters without spoiling anything. I think you should check out her review too by clicking here.