Anyways, Morrison's New X-Men was notable for shaking up the usual status quo of X-Men books at the time. Gone were the flashy superhero costumes, replaced by leather jackets and combat boots. The X-Men themselves took on more of a "mentor/teacher" status, recruiting younger mutants and teaching them how to use their powers effectively. The team itself was also much smaller, consisting of just Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Wolverine, Emma Frost, and new character Xorn. This is fantastic because it allows new readers to jump onto the storyline without much previous knowledge of the characters - if you've seen any of the X-Men movies, you'll be totally comfortable reading this, as even when Morrison calls back to older events, he makes an effort to explain what they are. It's a breath of fresh air for an often complicated and bloated series.
This hardcover chronicles the debut storyline of a new X-Men villain named Cassandra Nova, who destroys Genosha (Magneto's secret homeland for mutants), invariably killing 16 million mutants. Cassandra Nova is a great villain as she poses a real threat to the X-Men and especially Charles Xavier. This is important; the X-Men haven't had a lot of great villains in recent years, often relying on the series staples, i.e. Magneto/Mr. Sinster. It's extremely refreshing to see a new face on the villain roster. The series is filled with the same high concepts and excellent characterization that Grant Morrison is known for. Most impressive for me is the way he writes Cyclops; Morrison's Cyclops (who canonically has just returned from the dead) is the strong, smart leader he is supposed to be, but unlike other interpretations of him, is not a complete douche.
The best part of New X-Men though, is the way that Morrison actually moves the plot FORWARD. Too often, X-Men series are happy being stagnant - mutants are prejudiced against, but fight for mankind's acceptance. The characters in New X-Men realize that they are truly the future of the human race, with Emma even remarking that in five generations, homosapiens will cease to exist. Thus, while they still protect regular humankind, the X-Men's goal is largely to maintain their own survival until the time where they are the dominant species. It's amazing to me that very few X-Men writers have also taken this concept - hell, the mutant species is named homo SUPERIOR.
The art here is also worth a mention. I thought that the artwork was all handled by the unparalleled Frank Quitely, who's a favourite comic book artist of mine. However, the book actually rotates between Quitely, Ethan Van Sciver, and Igor Kordey (Leinel Francis Yu doing the Annual one-shot). Quitely brings his usual fluid line work and detailed style to the work, though it does take him an issue or two to really get into the groove of the book. His work is especially fantastic in issue 121, where Jean Grey and Emma Frost take an excursion into Charles Xavier's mind. The issue is a standout in the collection, with incredible artwork and an interesting approach by Morrison (aside from the last line, the entire issue is silent).