This week ResurrXion continues with X-Men Blue, and the first trial for Batman’s Justice League ends in Justice League of America!
X-Men Blue #1 (Marvel Comics)
Last week was the first issue of X-Men Gold. The week before that was X-Men Prime. So naturally, this week we’re taking a look at X-Men Blue, the other flagship X-Men title in the new RessurXion publishing event at Marvel. While X-Men Gold had the focus on classic X-Men members like Kitty Pryde, Colossus, and Nightcrawler, Blue is focusing on the younger, time-displaced original X-Men, who are now under the tutelage of Magneto. This twist is what initially had me interested in this series, and after reading the book, it’s clear to see that this will be the driving force behind Cullen Bunn and Jorge Molina’s new series.
Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, Jean Grey, and Angel are on the trail of Black Tom Cassidy, who’s holding up a mega yacht for ransom. Under new leader Jean Grey, the team begins to make short work of the criminal, until the Juggernaut arrives to assist his partner in crime. This battle leads to the X-Men showcasing some new and surprising abilities, but it all pales in comparison to the reveal behind who is guiding this new team of mutants, Magneto.
The idea of Cullen Bunn continuing to write Magneto was the big draw for me with this issue. Starting in Magneto and leading into Uncanny X-Men, the writer has had a long and fantastic history with the character, and has done a lot of interesting things with him. Unfortunately, Magneto only shows up in the final page of this issue, so we’ll still have to wait and see just how he interacts with the rest of the team. That being said, Cullen Bunn is able to weave a pretty entertaining first issue for this new direction of the team. It’s pretty straightforward, so even someone like me, who dropped off of All-New X-Men after the Guardians of the Galaxy crossover, would be able to jump into this version of the X-Men pretty easily (even though I’m still confused over some of the new things these characters can do).
Artist Jorge Molina’s style is perfectly suited for this kind of book. The entire issue is essentially one long action sequence, and Molina is able to keep giving you more and more fantastic set pieces that keep you entertained. There are a few random panels where some of the character’s faces look a little off, but for the most part, Molina’s style is pretty great.
While it doesn’t have the same roster as X-Men Gold, I do think Blue has the stronger hook. The idea of Magneto training this version of the X-Men is really cool, and while the marketing ruined the big surprise, this was still a very entertaining read, and the “coming soon” teaser image definitely has my interest piqued. Really the only thing I didn’t like about this issue was the back up story, which looks to be teasing the return of a character that really should’ve been left alone (and one that I’m not sure anyone is interested in). But other than that, X-Men Blue is a fun book that’ll please long time X-Men fans.
Justice League of America #4 (DC Comics)
Four issues in, and it’s clear to see that the main appeal of Justice League of America is the team dynamic. So far, Steve Orlando’s plot has been your basic “villains take over a part of the globe, and our heroes have to stop them” story that we’ve seen many times before. But where the plot has been lacking, the characters more than make up for it (especially Lobo). That’s never been truer than in Justice League of America #4, which brings the opening story arc “The Extremist Agenda” to a close.
After seemingly being on the ropes, Batman and his team of heroes turn the tables on Lord Havok and his team of Extremists. It’s really a simple set up of different scenes of JLA members battling against their Extremist counterparts, until the League member eventually figures out a way to take their enemy down. It’s a bit of a let down, but again, there was never really any threat of this team of heroes being taken out in their first real mission, so it’s not a complete deal breaker.
So yes, the battles between the two teams goes pretty much as you would expect, but like I said earlier, the real appeal of this book is the team. Steve Orlando is able to give each League member their own distinct personality, and he’s able to make every character count in terms of the story. Hell, Orlando has even made me enjoy Lobo, a character that I’ve never really liked before. Nearly every time Lobo opened his mouth to spout off a one liner, I had a grin on my face.
Ivan Reis returns to the artist’s chair for this issue, and I have to say, it looks a little more rushed than usual. If this was his only book and he just cranked out the previous 3 issues, I would cut him some slack. But with the new DC Rebirth rotating artist schedule, there’s not really an excuse that I can give him here. The last time we saw his art was in the Rebirth special. Reis’ pages aren’t terrible by any stretch, but they definitely look a little rushed in some spots. However, when Reis is on, oh man, watch out, cause there’s some doozies in this book.
While Justice League of America’s opening storyline was a little lackluster, it doesn’t really matter. The main appeal behind this title is the cast of characters. In a lot of ways, this series has more in common with a book like Batman and The Outsiders than Justice League. Where else will you see Black Canary, Vixen, Lobo, The Atom, The Ray, and Batman team up? This is the kind of out there and fun thinking that has made DC’s Rebirth relaunch such a hit. As long as Orlando can keep the character dynamics up, I’ll be coming back for more.