The X-Men are as iconic to Marvel Comics as The Avengers or Spider-Man. However, they differ from other heroes in that they are mutants – another step in human evolution. This puts the X-Men (and other mutants alike) in danger from those opposing change and what they represent. This graphic novel includes the original origin of The X-Men and a modernised version of it.
The X-Men debuted in 1963 in the pages of The X-Men #1. The team consisted of Angel, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, and Iceman. This story begins with the male members during training. They’re disturbed when the latest addition, Jean Grey (Marvel Girl) arrives at Professor Xavier’s mansion to join this elite mutant team. After a brief conversation with Professor X, Jean is introduced to the rest of the team who lusts over her (yes, you read that right). Meanwhile, Magneto has started a destructive rampage. Finding out, Professor X sends the new team to defeat his adversary, which they do. In hindsight, it’s pretty dangerous to send a team of teenagers to battle the greatest foe they’ll ever know, but sometimes you have to follow the orders of a crippled telepath. I guess?
The story is plagued with the cons of comics at the time. There are too many words per panel, the dialogue is clumsy, and women aren’t really equal to men. If anything it’s just a nice issue to have.
Thankfully the next story in this X-Men graphic novel, Children of the Atom #1-6 shows how comic book storytelling has progressed over the years. It’s another retelling of the X-Men’s origin, but this time it’s spread out over the six issues. Not only do we get a look at how each of the team members joined the team, but their struggles, problems with acceptance, and those around them fearing the unknown. Unlike the original origin story, they don’t face off against Magneto, but rather an anti-mutant movement leader by the name of William Metzger.
This is the real stand-out story in the book and one for this graphic novel series as well. The artwork is simplistic and well shaded, all of the dialogue feels natural, and it’s just a superbly paced story.
I highly recommend this book for any comic book fans and those wanting to know more about The X-Men’s origins.
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