Kyle Phoenix Review of New X-Men Vol. 1: E is for Extinction (v. 1)
Though this review is for New X-Men, I have to say that Uncanny and Extreme average overall into my rating of 4 stars. I know there's been a lot of hullabaloo about Morrison's work on New X-Men---new directions, excitement, blah blah. However I'm not so sure much has changed so radically. By measuring change I mean if Morrison didn't write anymore issues would there be a vast change in the X-Men. Ok, Emma Frost as a member is fun and a good twist, however I think that the creation of new characters and the wholesale tossing out of others (like the New Mutants, who're coming back in yet another series to run 50-100 issues and be cancelled along the lines of New Mutants, Generation X and X-Force) rather than integrating them eventually into the team. I think this is the main deficit of the X-Men. Characters created that are likeable, that are durable, eventually can't be changed in any significant way.
Prof. X having a twin sister who is wholesale evil was nice, though from the first panel Cassandra appeared in, I knew who and what she was. Maybe I've been reading comics too long to be surprised too deeply..........
There was a HUGE, I mean HUGE storyline buildup to Cassandra stealing the Prof.'s body and returning with the Shiar to wax the X-Men out. And the fight was.........ehhhhh....not that scary. I mean everyone pretty much stayed status quo. Morrison is twisting but not changing. At least in Xtreme, Psylocke is dead, dead, dead. Jean is having Phoenix trips again, Beats is upset because he's hideous, Wolverine is all violence talk and menace and Emma is a nice bit of relief as someone who's been there, done that. Cyclops, easily the most boring person at a party is purposefully written as stiff, which is interesting and his affair with Emma, another interesting point but will he and Jean divorce over this? ...
My measure of a great writer is that when you look back on the 20-50 issues they've done is it an entirely new playing field? Is anything of consequence changing?
Ok, the school is out and officially a mutant academy, which has possibilities but in many ways over the years it has been outted, just not as crowded. A lot of the X-Men's main stable of enemies are either gone, dead or well........X-Men. So it makes you wonder what a real threat is going to be. This book dialogue wise and visually is sometimes good, even great and the overall plotting of a maturing X-Men being more present in the world is interesting but I don't feel a sense of danger, a sense of foreboding. I mean my big question is when a threat arrives, honestly, does anyone reading this book feel like someone might not survive? That Cyclops and Phoenix will break up? That Beast really might be gay? There are playful twists, stunts, but not true change going on.
Cassandra, a serious threat was defeated too easily, and by easily, I mean there was very little collateral damage that we got to see.
Supposedly she rendered the Shiar empire to rubble, which should've been part of what the readers SEE not just were told. Good writing shows you not just tell you. Essentially compressing Cassandra into a mental file inside of a metamorph was unique but somehow too easy. Then again, I have to wonder why Emma, Phoenix and Prof. X together couldn't fight her. Morrison is a good writer, I agree and I'm sure a lot of the things he's done have been uphill battles, unfortunately the X-Men are stuck in their own quagmire of history and static characterizations. It would have been really interesting to see this new Cyclops who had been part of Apocalypse. That theme was explored for two minutes but not truly cracked open.
Also is it just me or has anyone ever considered that these young people are the Prof's puppets? Wouldn't someone so telepathically formidable leak his desires to those around him? That would be an excellent area to be explored.