This right here is the X-Men run you’ve always wanted, and this is the main X-Men book you never thought you needed. As for the rest of the books? I might still think it is a bit of a risk trying to keep eight books ongoing, but you never know right now. We wanted a revitalized X-Men franchise, and Hickman brought that to us. Right now I just find myself over the moon happy to jump into what is now the Dawn of X. Damn the twist that the mutants always lose when it’s always about the journey, rather than the destination.
Now as a new #1 issue, most come with the expectation that it will read like one. Even though I would personally recommend any reader out there to simply find the time to read Powers of X and House of X given they are minis, this first issue is still easy enough to jump into. All you really need to know is that there is the Mutant Island Nation of Krakoa, and this is their team of X-Men who do the groundwork between the world of mutants and the world of humans. It doesn’t get anymore straightforward than that aside from the fact that at the same time, these X-Men are tasked with ensuring that the human world does not get their chance at fighting back through this Orchid Program.
That said, from that first couple of scenes I appreciated what Hickman had to offer this X-Men iteration. Between PoX and HoX, there wasn’t too much that we were getting out of mutants like Cyclops, Storm, and so forth. This was our time to see what versions of them we were dealing with this time. Our answer to that was quite admirable. There was this air about them that I loved because they all sounded so awoken to the world around them. It was if a soft reboot was hit on them, and that I can’t argue with at all. All of those personal things which usually weighed them down was left at the front door, and the only focus now is the good work that are tasked with doing. That’s not to say that personal dealings are a problem, but after some years, that stuff begins to create clutter. With that said, our first taste of their new dynamic was impressive. The one thing you come to anticipate most about Hickman handling the X-Men is how he takes advantage of an actual thought process put into how these teams are put together between fighters, support, and so forth. For example, having someone who always keeps a seed of Krakoa for transport? That is one of the more brilliant developments that I’m glad now finds consistency.
The lighter moments were very engaging. I remember reading how some people thought Hickman did too much talking with his characters instead of action, but if that’s what you really came for? Then I might say exit left. We’ve gotten too many X-Books where it is one battle to the next without any real storytelling. This is a breath of fresh air where there is real engagement, genuine conversation, and so much exploration of this new mutant world to immerse ourselves in.
Aside from that, our continued exploration of Krakoa itself was welcomed. For as much as we have already seen, it still feels like there’s so much to see. For this first issue, it didn’t hurt seeing the medical space afforded to them. I was wondering where Dr. Reyes would fit into this, and I was glad to see that mutants like her were even put to use in the best way possible.
Aside from a stellar story, the same could be said for the interior work that we got from this art team. One of the biggest issues I ever had with the X-Books of late is that we weren’t getting the best on them. This right here is what you ask for when you want an all-star team onboard. Leinil Yu, Gerry Alanguilan (inks), and Sunny Gho knocked it out of the park in this first issue. With Leinil Yu‘s pencils, you are always sure to get detailed renderings from start to finish. He does not skip a beat whether the object is a character, thing, or setting. His work especially jumped out at you when it came to the scenes involving Orchid and what is very high tech about their environment and company. It also helped to have an inker like Gerry who could adds depth through shadows, and makes great use of what would have been empty space. And when it came to everything Krakoan, of course I was blown away by the colorwork more than anything else. Obviously the interweaving of plant and tech is going to be something to marvel at, but it is the distinct color choice to go with it that truly pops out. These art teams really make it look like you are stepping into another world entirely.
Like with HoX and PoX, I was so glad to see that we were still going to get those research pages which as usual show us and explain to us the very things that can’t be put into word bubbles.
If you are going to pick up any of the new X-Books to make up this Dawn of X? Make sure that X-Men #1 is number one on your list. This book gave us a proper introduction into this new world of possibility. We got to see some of the new team, the new personalities to some of our favorite X-Men, more of Krakoa that we didn’t see before, and the enemies we should brace ourselves for. It’s a brave new world for the X-Men! And never before has those words stood more true.