This week the X-Men return in Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos’ Extraordinary X-Men, and Sam Humphries and Tommy Patterson give politics a demonic spin in Citizen Jack!
Extraordinary X-Men #1 (Marvel Comics)
Given Marvel’s current “let’s try to make the Inhumans a thing” policy, it’s surprising that the X-Men are still getting a huge push in All New All Different Marvel. Of course they’re still immensely popular (and profitable), but no one would be blamed for thinking that Marvel would start churning out garbage featuring the merry mutants in order to try and get X fans to check out Uncanny Inhumans. Thankfully this is not the case, as superhot writer Jeff Lemire and Marvel megastar Humberto Ramos are on the roster for Extraordinary X=Men, the new flagship X-Men book in the All New, All Different Marvel relaunch.
Lemire’s book is definitely a character centric piece, and has a lot of unanswered questions in it. Storm is the new leader of the X-Men, and has made it her mission to create a place where the remaining mutants can live in peace from threats old and new. Humanity still mistrusts mutants, and as an added bonus, the Terrigen mists that have been released into the air have terrifying effects on anyone with an X-gene. Realizing that the remaining mutants need a team to inspire them now more than ever, Storm sets out to recruit a new team, which is proving to be easier said than done.
As I mentioned before, a lot of Jeff Lemire’s script focuses on the motivations of the different mutants who will eventually make up Storm’s X-Men. Nearly everyone featured on the cover gets a moment to shine here, with the standouts being Magik and Colossus’ interactions in Russia. Already Lemire is proving that he really knows these characters and how they interact with each other, which almost makes up for this rather slow moving introductory issue. There aren’t a lot of answers for how the Terrigen Mists were released, and you’ll have to read Uncanny X-Men #600, also out this week, to figure out what the mutants are talking about when they mention“ what Cyclops did” (if that even ends up being the event they are talking about).
With a more introspective issue, you might think that Humberto Ramos’ art would suffer. Fortunately for us, it doesn’t. While there aren’t many of them, the few action sequences are spectacular, with the best being Nightcrawler battling a few unsavory mutants. Ramos’ art practically leaps off the page here, and has so much kinetic energy within the panels that you’d swear that Kurt Wagner was about to teleport out of your hands. Ramos also does a great job with the character’s facial expressions as well, adding to the many great interactions that fill up Lemire’s script.
I had high hopes for Jeff Lemire taking on the X=Men, and while this first issue wasn’t entirely what I was expecting, it’s more than a fantastic example for why Lemire’s a good choice for this book. Already he’s crafting an incredibly engaging cast of mutants for this book, and setting up some cool mysteries in the process. With any luck, he won’t drag things out like Bendis did in both All New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men.
Citizen Jack #1 (Image Comics)
I’m not big into politics. I don’t really trust any politician, and many times I feel like I’m voting for the lesser of two evils. So a series like Citizen Jack is right up my alley. Featuring a Minnesotan snow blower sales man who’s influenced by the devil to run for President, the Sam Humphries and Tommy Patterson Image series is perfectly timed for people who are already sick of the Presidential Election circus.
Jack Northworthy is a loudmouth, a drunk, and an all around despicable human being. He’s also friends with a demon named Marlinspike, who’s constantly trying to convince him to run for President. After a failed attempt at being the Mayor (which also ruined his marriage), no one believes Northworthy can run for President, yet he tries anyways. And when things start to fall in line for Northworthy, he starts to believe his pal Marlinspike, and signs his contract to start his campaign for office.
Sam Humphries’ script definitely has a lot of fun with the current election cycle, and his depiction of Northworthy is a lot of fun to watch (even with him being as awful as he is). In a lot of ways Jack’s character reminds of the main character from Bad Santa. No matter how horrible he is to other people, it’s still fun to watch him interact with people. Humphries’ script shines when it focuses on Northworthy, but we don’t get a ton of back-story on how Northworthy met Marlinspike, and some of the jokes (like a Dolphin being the sole voice of reason on a talking head politics show) are so random that they end up being distracting more than humorous.
Tommy Patterson’s art is ideal for this type of book. It’s full of exaggerated expressions and crazy visuals, but they’re not so exaggerated that you don’t believe them as part of the story. Patterson also has fun working Marlinspike into the backgrounds of different panels, the highlight being an awesome splash page shortly after Northworthy has his big “press conference” to announce his campaign.
Citizen Jack is a pretty weird book, but it’s a lot of fun, despite the awkward jokes here and there. This is a book that’s going to have fun skewering the way our country elects its leaders; hopefully Humphries and Patterson can keep it up for the length of the series.