So by now it's been, what, six months since Marvel's newest full-time superhero made his debut in Tales of Suspense 39? So yeah, it's about time we got somebody new to read about now that The Incredible Hulk has been sent packing—and that we do. In fact, we get six new heroes somewhat out of the blue here with the introduction of the X-Men.
As far as origin stories go, this one is one of the better ones so far (behind Spider-Man and Iron Man), though you can tell that Stan and company view the property as a kind of extension on the Fantastic Four formula that's been funding their wage-cheques over the past year. Obvious similarities aside however, the new gang of heroes still come across as fresh and somewhat distinctive, even if much of the story's narrative sticks to the same beats we've been reading for a while now.
What works is the issues opening half which sees the mutants at Professor X's academy going through tests of their abilities before newbie Jean Grey (Marvel Girl)crashes the party and turns all the guys into embarrassing chauvinist caricatures and herself into another Sue Storm, albeit with a better powerset. What doesn't quite work as well is the latter half which sees the new superteam battle it off with long-term nemesis Magneto who follows the Villains Handbook of Villainy to a T. It's predictable and a little drab, despite having all these new abilities to toy with—nothing exciting really happens.
With that said however, X-Men comes across as a welcome and off-beat take on the Fantastic Four formula that is definitely still to find its own legs (specifically in the art style which right now is lifeless and lacking punch) but which will hopefully offer a decent alternative to what else is out there. Watch this space, I guess.
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