Kate (and Dan) Read ALL NEW X-MEN #1 & 2

Kate: We seem to read quite a few DC books around here. I was thinking, this being an election year and all, we should reach across the aisle and give some love to the new Marvel NOW! books.

Dan: Dude, you are so right. I’ve been checking these out, and I can honestly say Marvel is putting out some quality books. I haven’t read this many Marvel books since I was in high school.

K: “Marvel NOW?” Hey, is this some kinda reboot in response to DC’s New 52?

D: Uh huh. It’s not so much a “reboot” as a great starting point for new readers. Instead of erasing upwards of 50 years of storytelling, Marvel has made the existing continuity a non-issue for new readers.

K: See, this is perfect. After being asked to leave the theatre during the Hugh Jackman scenes in the X-MEN movie, then licking my TV screen while watching X-MEN 2 (also during the Hugh Jackman scenes), I’ve been curious about the X-MEN comics. But really, all those time travel stories? And how many times has that red headed chick Jean Grey died already? (Editor’s note: we think the answer is 3, but even we’re not sure.)

D: Perfect! Let’s check the accessibility of Marvel NOW! with Brian Michael Bendis’ ALL NEW X-MEN #1 and #2.

K: I thought you said this was a Marvel book. If it is, where’s Thor? They mention Tony Stark, but no Thor. I thought topless Norse Gods were standard in Marvel books. Also,where’s topless Wolverine?

D: Get serious, Red. So, the X-MEN, right? Children of the Atom, brought together by the wheelchair bound Charles Xavier. Prof X swore to teach the young mutants how to use their power to help a world that hated them because they were different. Pretty heavy stuff for a comic book.

K: Totally. I like a comic with a message. Also, the Beast is covered with blue fur.

D: ::blink blink::

K: ::points to character in the comic:: Who’s this?

D: That’s Storm.

K: ::points to character in the comic:: Who’s this?

D: That’s Iceman.

K: ::points to character in the comic:: Who’s this?

D: Emma Frost.

K: The X-Men need nametags. Having only seen the movies, I can’t keep all of the mutants straight. If Marvel is trying to bring in new readers, they should tell you who the people are in the book. Maybe a character glossary of some sort at the end of the book?

D: Won’t work. There are over 75 X-Men. A glossary would take up over half the book. Plus, that’s exactly the point of this whole Marvel NOW! review: can Marvel and Bendis make a book with a cast of 75ish characters accessible to you, a red-headed new reader? Does Bendis have the chops to ease a reader into this massive continuity and not have their head explode?

::watches intently, secretly hoping for a SCANNERS-style exploding head scene::

K: What happened to the editor’s notes? I thought that was how you figured out which books you should be reading when you started reading comics. If you want new readers to understand the storyline and characters, maybe you should give them a little bit of the back-story. I don’t see any editor’s notes. And why is Wolverine wearing a shirt in the few panels we actually see him?

D: Again, you’re getting lost in the minutia. You just need to understand that there are a lot of X-Men, and Wolverine wears a shirt about 50% of the time. What about the plot? What did you think about the actual story?

K: ::doing her best Woody Allen:: Don’t get me started. The whole X-Men universe is flipped upside down from the movies. I thought Cyclops was a good guy, so why is he hanging out with bad guy Magneto?

D: The introduction explains that he’s been corrupted by the Phoenix Force, turned bad, and then kills Professor X. That’s the catalyst for the jumping off point of X-Men. These are some things that happened and where we join our heroes for the start of the story arc. You have to enjoy the ride from there.

K: Right. At the end of the first book Beast goes back in time to talk to his younger self, and young Cyclops, to try and stop the coming Mutant Civil War.

::pulls numerous charts and graphs culled from episodes of Doctor Who and Star Trek:: I don’t know much about time travel, it actually confuses me to no end, but I know this, YOU CAN’T TALK TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF!!! You end up in some kind of weird mobius time loop!!

D: Whoa. Calm down. We don’t know what happens after Beast chats with the younger Original X-Men and he brings them back to present day. That’s in books to come.

K: Fine. Does this time stream-shenanigans just give Bendis the opportunity to repeatedly kill off and resurrect Jean Grey? It sounds like she has a problem staying dead.

D: Yeah, she’s got kind of a got a spring-loaded coffin. She just won’t stay down.

K: ::puts on heavy black eye-liner and Doc Martin boots:: “Spring Loaded Coffin” just happens to be the name of my Goth rock band. I grow weary of your cast of 1,000’s and disregard for time travel rules. I’ve got band practice.

D: Whatever. You’re a flutist that hasn’t fluted since high school.

K: Looks like not even the skills of Bendis can make this potential new reader become invested in this mutant soap opera.

::plays Goth flute, walks off into sunset::

P.S. (Dan) really likes this book.