[This post is part of series of posts looking at Grant Morrison's New X-Men run issue by issue; click on the "New X-Men" label at the bottom of this post to read all the entries.]
Morrison wastes no time making the book his own. The Beast is redesigned – for good or ill it lets you know right of the bat nothing is sacred and everything can change, an exhilarating feeling to get from an X-Men comic book mired in years of unchanging continuity. Plus we get real banter: “Soda?” “Diet please.” “Diet? You weigh six hundred pounds.” “So? Do I want to get fat? I do a lot of leaping around.” We get Morrison at his unhinged best, when the Beast says “I feel like a Hindu sex god, Jean.”
Cerebra is clearly explained and elegantly designed, as is the X-Jet, with a sensibility not unlike the WE3 armor.
The design for Ugly John, as I mentioned in my book, is taken from an Australian Skiing magazine; Quitely uses hip sources even when going for ugly.
With the Tommy Hilfigure uniforms the whole concept is re-imagined from the ground up: Morrison goes so far as to boldly assert that the X-Men never were superheroes, and thus should dress accordingly.
Morrison makes the whole concept dangerous again, and to mark the occasion gives Xavier a gun. Those who objected this being out of character missed the point: for Morrison the gun less of a steel weapon and more of a metaphor for violent change, which is why the final cover of the Invisibles is a hand with a gun.
The very first page of Morrison's run shows Wolverine ripping up a sentinel and Cyclops dryly remarking “You can probably stop doing that” – it is an indictment of decades of repetitive, redundant X-Men continuity. Just as the book opens with a metaphor for time past it closes with a metaphor for time future: Cassandra Nova says “imagine self made sentinels, using spare parts to evolve themselves into more effective forms.” The X-Men have always been about survival and Morrison wants to make them survive by using the past -- often piecemeal -- to evolve the book into a more effective form. This first issue is an incredibly strong start.