STORY: Christos Gage and Neal Adams
ART: Neal Adams
The First X-Men doesn’t need to exist. It’s as simple as that. For some reason, Christos Gage thought it would be cool to look at X-Men before there were…X-Men…which doesn’t make much sense. The whole idea behind the name was that they were Xavier’s Men, hence, X-Men. I understand that Gage and Adams are not calling this group ‘X-Men’ within the narrative, but the book’s title and Neal Adams’ obvious opine for the 1980s convey a sloppy and repetitive series that just didn’t need to be. The problem stems from ground be retread. A team working for the safety and wellbeing of mutantkind? That’s the X-Men! It’s somewhat frustrating that Gage and Adams think this is some grand new idea that their pioneering. If they don’t think what they’re writing is somehow new, why would they write it in the first place? So either way, The First X-Men doesn’t make sense.
From the very first page, this narrative feels undeveloped. Wolverine is helping a friend from the army find his son who has run away from home. Who is this mysterious friend? I guess we’ll never know. Even with such a shaky beginning, I continued reading in hopes that the story would start making more sense. Instead, I was treated to more nonsense just for the sake of it. Why does The Wolverine want to act as babysitter to a bunch of muntant children? With decades of continuity as evidence, Logan doesn’t take to children easily. Sure he was a mainstay at the Xavier School for a long, long time, but he was rarely more than a passing resident, mostly there to make sure the X-Men had the muscle they needed. Who’s honestly going to take this seriously? And Sabertooth is helping out? I know there was a time when he and Wolverine worked together, but again, Gage and Adams warp Victor Creed’s base personality, simply to tell a story. Not cool.
Then there’s Charles Xavier. Dear God in Heaven, Charles Xavier. Why in the world Christos Gage and Neal Adams would feel it was okay to turn the greatest mutant revolutionary in Marvel universe history into a whining, selfish prig who just wants to be normal is beyond me. While he never actually says the word “normal”, it’s obvious that Xavier wants to live a purposely average life, which is an affront to the character at a very raw level. What’s even more frustrating is how Marvel allowed this to happen.
None of this is even to mention Holly Bright, a carbon copy of Mastermind, who manipulates peoples minds into believing the horrific things he makes them see are real. Seriously, she does the exact same thing. Oh, but her name is Holo, which is a total anachronism because holograms or even the idea of them wouldn’t have been around in this “years ago” time period. It’s just so sloppy.
Perhaps the most frustrating parts of this series – and there are obviously many – is that Erik Lensherr is going to join the team. Magneto. So, Christos Gage and Neal Adams are trying to claim that Wolverine and Magneto were on a Pre-X-Men team that helped mutant kids before Charles Xavier possessed his lifelong ethics (really????) and decided to try and guide the mutant race. The entire idea is just stupid. There is no way this is alright. Not by a long shot. What The First X-Men is comes down to one word: disappointing. Not only is this series totally unnecessary, it slaps comic book fans across the face with a whole new slew of (technically official) canon that’s just depressing to think is now part of a comic book universe that still had some semblance of sense to it. I’m not even going to start into Neal Adams’ completely dated and awful artwork because it will just depress me. I’ll just say, it’s mind-numbingly bad (Magneto’s hair looks like Nite Owl II’s cowl).