YEARS OF FUTURE PAST #1
Written by Marguerite Bennett
Art by Mike Norton, FCO Plascencia
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: June 3, 2015
Marguerite Bennett and this creative team have a difficult task: crafting a tale that evokes one of the most iconic stories in X-Men history, yet feels fresh and connected to the current Secret Wars event. Bennett and the artists create a world similar to that of Days of Future Past, the 1981 story found in Uncanny X-Men #141-142. In a dystopian future, mutants live in internment camps and wear collars that inhibit their powers. The United Doomstates government, under President Kelly, uses the media to stir up fear of mutants among humans. And like the 1981 series, Kate Pryde is a major character.
However, Kate Pryde takes a support role to a new character by Bennett: Christina “Chrissie” Pryde, Kate and Colossus’ daughter. Chrissie is instantly likable: brave but unassuming, she explores the abandoned Bronx Zoo on her own. Chrissie has a hopeful view of humanity that would make Charles Xavier proud. I like how Bennett writes Wolverine teaching Chrissie about what mutants have endured. It feels consistent with how Wolverine has related with Kitty, Jubilee, and other younger X-Men he’s taken under his wing.
Bennett impresses by capturing the grandiose and even cheesy writing style of 80s X-Men comics. The script is full of Chris Claremont-like soliloquies like, “It’s happening! It’s finally happening!” and “You two are our last and best hope.” Colossus, Sentinels, Rachel Grey, and other classic X-Men fixtures are also here. Bennett is able to pair tongue-in-cheek humor with very grave, disturbingly real-life issues: forced genetic testing, eugenics, sterilization, and fighting between marginalized people are all highlighted.
Mike Norton and FCO Plascencia’s art is a perfect homage to Days of Future Past. Mutants wear the same drab, medical scrubs-like dark turquoise uniform. Kate Pryde wears her classic black and yellow X-Men uniform, and Wolverine even has his brown jacket with the Sherpa collar. I wish there had been more of the propoganda posters shown on the first page. These posters instantly set the tone of this dark alternate future. Norton gives great detail to faces, especially Wolverine’s, and draws Chrissie’s hair similarly to how John Cassaday drew Kitty Pryde’s in Astonishing X-Men circa 2004. Plascencia does an outstanding job with the metallic gleam of the purple Sentinels and Colossus’ organic steel body, and Joe Caramagna gives the Sentinels’ dialogue an intimidating bold look.
Years of Future Past captures the classic feel and fun of Claremont-era X-Men. Marguerite Bennett introduces a new character whom we want to see overcome the bleak, oppressive environment she was raised in. I hope future issues delve deeper into Chrissie’s relationship with Kate and Colossus. Chrissie has potential to be a new Marvel character as consequential as, or even more so than, Hope Summers.
The Verdict: 8.5/10