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