The X-Men Return To Hope: X-Men Prime Review

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Overall a well-written and great art issue signalling tonal shift, but leaves reader wanting with little set-up for most of the X-Men line.
Cover by Ardian Syaf
Cover by Ardian Syaf

With both the X-Men and Inhuman parts of the Marvel Universe coming into ResurrXion after the dark times (for the mutants at least) of Inhumans vs. X-Men, Marvel’s decision to prime the audience for what’s to come with the aptly named Prime issues for both parties seemed a pretty good one. Allow the audience to see just how different the future is for their beloved group (mutants or Inhumans, or for perhaps a limited number, both!).

The marketing machine that is Marvel has told us all for some time what books to expect from both camps, with X-Men in particular seeing a significant rise in number of titles being released.

So with all that in mind, the X-Men Prime issue does a pretty good job, but it does leave the reader a little wanting (especially, perhaps, the big time X-Men fans). If the concept of the Prime issues is to set up these new titles as well as present a primer for the tone going forward, then X-Men Prime only half delivers that.

Art by Ken Lashley
Art by Ken Lashley

Certainly, there is nothing wrong with the writing or the art in the book. Written by Marc Guggenheim, Greg Pak and Cullen Bunn, the story is in itself a good piece, if not ground-breaking, a strong tonal change for the series as it becomes more about looking forward and being hopeful and, finally, returning to Xavier’s dream of peaceful co-existence, after a lengthy time of mere survival. The characters are all well written and remain in-character, some more so than they’ve been of late even. The story is good, as I say, though there are no major surprises in the issue. But then, there’s no ‘surprises’ as such in the Inhumans Prime issue either.

On art, Ken Lashley‘s work looks particularly dynamic and interesting. The other artists Ibraim Roberson, Leonard Kirk and Guillermo Ortego all bring great work too, with colours from Morry Hollowell, Frank D’Armata and Michael Garland that add depth to the proceedings, and also seem a little brighter than usual, perhaps? If so, this helps add to the sense of hope that the book does indeed create.

Art by Leonard Kirk with Guillermo Ortego
Art by Leonard Kirk with Guillermo Ortego

What seems to be missing here, however, is a real sense of set up for the line. In truth, X-Men Prime only really sets up three of the upcoming X-Men titles, namely X-Men Gold, X-Men Blue and Weapon X. Of these three as well, Weapon X and X-Men Blue get the most sense of set-up in the issue, with the set up of Gold purely revolving around why Kitty Pryde returns to the team.

It’s a slight shame, as Iceman, Cable, Generation X and the newly announced Astonishing X-Men get no real sense of set up, and it would have been nice to see some sort of hints of what to expect across the whole line instead of just the three, presumably, core titles. It’s actually in this way that the Inhumans Prime issue works slightly better, which I will get into in its own review, as it sets up pretty much all the line’s titles, bar Secret Warriors, which we are told will be heavily connected to Secret Empire, so I guess that one at least makes sense.

Art by Ken Lashley
Art by Ken Lashley

Overall, the X-Men Prime one shot is good, and it is nice to see the change in tonal direction finally, but it is a shame that it only really works as a primer for three titles and not the whole line.

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About Joe Glass

Joe Glass has been contributing to Bleeding Cool for about four years. He's been a roaming reporter at shows like SDCC and NYCC, and also has a keen LGBTQ focus, with his occasional LGBTQ focus articles, Tales from the Four Color Closet. He is also now Bleeding Cool's Senior Mutant Correspondent thanks to his obsession with Marvel's merry mutants.

Joe is also a comics creator, writer of LGBTQ superhero team series, The Pride, the first issue of which was one of the Top 25 ComiXology Submit Titles of 2014. He is also a co-writer on Stiffs, a horror comedy series set in South Wales about call centre workers who hunt the undead by night. One happens to be a monkey. Just because.

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