After Monday’s post some folks suggested I look closely at Grant Morrison’s whole New X-Men run. It seems like a good idea since it is such a mixed bag, the best and the worst art I have seen, an ambitious failure by a writer I am completely familiar with. I don’t know how well this will go or how long it will go on for before it busts or gets boring, but I am going to try, as often as I can, to give each issue its due. Here is my review of issue 114, the first part of E for Extinction.
With the new title, the freshly designed reversible logo, and an eerie, badass cover including newly designed and unbelievably hip uniforms New X-Men 114 announces loudly its commitment to shaking up the status quo. Everyone is fantastically tall and lanky, like runway models (Quitely characters don’t often look this thin). Inside Xavier will say of Cassandra Nova “are these words from the future?” and Morrison’s aim is to make the whole book feel like an artifact from a future time.
Turn the page and you get hit with a wonderful two page spread that economically introduces the whole X-Men concept to the kinds of new readers Morrison was after (see my earlier post on Morrison’s New X-Men and Cool -- just hit the New X-Men tag): Mutants will replace humans as humans replaced the Neanderthals. If you already know the concept your attention will be held by the bizarre and wonderful Cassandra Nova, a herald of a dark future who (in a design stroke of evil genius) wears a pith helmet and matching attire – she will kill mutants as the British upper class killed elephants in Africa on Safari.
Turn the page again, and you get hit with an even better two page spread. Each main character gets an extreme close up highlighting a unique detail: Cyclops’s visor, Jean’s surgically precise telekinesis, Emma Frost’s high collar, the Beast’s cat eyes and glasses, Wolverine’s claws emerging (you can see small drops of blood flying, a detail that was removed from the poster version), and Xavier’s weird eyes, gleaming with one red and one blue X-Men logo, his dream. Even the font for the title card looks good.
This is part one of two because I want to keep posts bite size. More next time. Future reviews will be one post per issue; because a discussion of the first issue has to take into account all the new designs, it is a double post.