Comic Book Review: X-Men: Red #1
Of all the new X-Men books to come out post-Secret Wars and post-IvX, X-Men: Red has to be the most anticipated. With the other books you were expecting more of the usual which was either a soft relaunch, or a shifting of the team rosters for something different. However, with X-Men: Red there was the excitement of a team-up we haven’t seen before, and led by a version of Jean Grey that just might be her best yet. I mean this here is our opportunity to get to know this newly resurrected Jean since the end of her mini last week.
The opening scene to this new series was refreshing. If there is one thing I always try to have hope for with an X-Men book, it is that they focus on the singular problem that is the mutant problem. I get that there is always a need to go saving the world and what not, but it is appreciated to be reminded that they do still go out of their way to save and protect mutants, especially the new, from the hate of the outside world. It was also refreshing that this new series would take us straight into the story. Not every time will you need to start off at square one, and it is in the best interest of pacing that the story is able to kick off with momentum.
With that said, it didn’t hurt that the story was able to backtrack to what set this story in motion. A solid introduction was made to some key team members, but more importantly Jean who seems to have already found her way. It was hard to imagine what kind of mindset she would be in after coming back from the dead once again. Would she struggle to adjust? Would she distance herself? Plenty of questions like that arise, but what we got out of her first actions as an X-Man again was satisfying. We could see what is driving her actions, and her moment of heroics captured a strong maturity and sense of professionalism. They even took that professionalism a step further from there. X-Men: Red needed a mission statement that would genuinely separate it from the other X-Books on shelves, and they nailed the difference. X-Men: Blue I give credit to for putting the X-Men back out there in the world to be their heroes, but Red addresses what it means to actually speak to the people on a humanitarian level. It is the approach we have needed for a long time.
What obstacle they decided to put before Jean and her team was a tough pill to swallow. This issue was so empowering, but all it took was one challenge to remind us that this is an X-Men book. What does that mean? That means you should never entirely get your hopes up too high. Especially considering who this foe is revealed to be. For that very reason this debut of X-Men: Red felt like the full package and experience. That aside, the way Jean went about picking up some of her teammates also added to the strength of this new story. There was a reason for everyone so far that you couldn’t argue with. Laura is wiser than she gives herself credit for, Nightcrawler was a no-brainer for his heart, and Namor was a good necessity for the scale of her mission.
With a book like this, I couldn’t imagine that they would give us anything less than a satisfactory art team. Mahmud Asrar and Ive Svorcina were perfect picks for the style they brought to this first issue. It was hard to have any expectations from the artwork without too much knowledge of what we were in store for. After seeing such a personal touch to this Jean Grey that we are dealing with, it was easy to appreciate how tame the interior art was. They didn’t give us that impression that this would be a story where they wanted to be flashy. We see enough of that in Gold. Jean’s story was more down to Earth. The colors popped when needed, but for the most part kept us anchored to the world that Jean was trying to engage. To see regular people, foreign locations, every day life in general was a difference-maker. It kept things fresh and in perspective as well that most of this issue we could see Jean wearing casual clothing that consistently changed throughout the issue, including the style of her hair. Other unique designs were used as well and I have to say they worked very well.
X-Men: Red #1 is everything an X-fan could want and more from a new series. I’m sure there are plenty of readers out there skeptical that we might be getting one too many X-books, but this issue proves that there is nothing to fear when there are stories to be told, and all it takes is a bold creative team to tell it. This Jean Grey finally sees the world without the corruption of the Phoenix, and now is her time to show that she can make an impact with a new outlook and perspective on life.