I have to hand it to writer Victor Gischler; he’s done something very few writers have been able to pull off. He’s actually made the X-Men fun. For the most part, X-Men usually becomes this bloated and morbid type of monster, but the current reboot, now on issue #17, is a blast. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a cool and rather complex story at work, but it lacks the false gravitas that has plagued the series for so long. X-Men #17 split the current storyline into the three facets, Cyclops, Wolverine and Reed Richards (yes, I said Reed Richards).
Having been approached by the new FF, the X-Men travel to an alternate dimension in order to rescue Lee Forrester, a former love interest of both Magneto and Cyclops. Pushing through the dimension border has wrecked their craft, and newer FF member Doctor Doom has jumped ship rather than play nice with those he finds to be beneath him. Reed Richards remains behind to try and fix the ship, Cyclops, Emma Frost and Sue Richards head off to find Lee, and Wolverine stays with The Thing only to discover Skull The Slayer is also trapped in this inter-dimensional Hell.. From there we get large dinosaur battles, alien races, and a betrayal that, as sure as you are it’s coming, is still pretty awesome. Gischler has a real way with building tension and allowing the fun to get the best of you before he drops the hammer.
What’s interesting about Gischler’s style is how mysterious he keeps his end game. Most writers telegraph what they’re going to do from the second or third page. With X-Men #17, the joy is in the journey not the destination. From the get go, the story is stitched together very closely, with each panel leading into the next with zero filler. Gischler has a great knack for dialog; the banter between Emma Frost and Sue Richards is a prime example of that. He also understands the characters and what makes them so enduring. While writers like Jason Aaron are busy trying to reinvent the wheel with the X-Men, Gischler is one of those guys who gets it – he understands that you have to be reverent of the source material before you can add your own spin on it. It’s actually been prevalent in the entire new X-Men series.
Jorge Molina’s art is wonderful as well. You can tell he loves the idea that Lee Forrester, Sue Richards and Emma Frost are in this and he draws them accordingly. When three of the hotties of the comic world come together, you need somebody who can draw the female form, something Molina excels at. He’s also good with action and movement. One single panel of Wolverine and Thing battling cave men like aliens had more action than a lot of entire books. Molina, like Gischler, wants each panel to say something and reduces filler across the board. X-Men #17 is one of those perfect storms when a particular style of writing and of art mesh perfectly. I only wish more of the X-Men books were this good.
CRAVEONLINE RATING 8.5/10