Review: X-Men Red #1
Whether you’ve been a fan of the recent X-Men output or not, X-Men Red #1 is a jolly continuation of the arcs and ideas presented thus far, and in Taylor & Asrar, Red has a magical team of creators.
We Liked...
  • The fantastic dialogue between characters
  • The grand artwork that reflects grand ideas
  • The fact its an enjoyable continuation of a great X-Men arc
We Didn't Like...
  • Some of the inconsistency in its art
  • The cliff-hanger that makes us want Issue 2 right now
8.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

X-Men Red #1 

Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Mahmud Asrar
Colorist: Ive Svorcina
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Perhaps now, more than ever before, can comic books be seen as more than just an outdated entertainment medium and as a weaponised manifesto of political intent. X-Men Red’s #1 does in one issue what many leaders spend years formulating: the creation and fragmentation of an idea to change the world, for better or worse.

Designed as a companion to the split-world X-Men Blue & Gold series’ and a fellow follow-on to All New X-Men, X-Men Red sits as a stand-alone piece as well as part of an ongoing canonical rebirth. Taking the reins and sowing the seeds for a series set to become a metaphorically politically-charged roller-coaster ride, Tom Taylor – best known, perhaps, for his work on the politically-tinged Injustice series and the man currently helming X-Men Red cast-member Wolverine’s solo series All New Wolverine – crafts a story across a relatively blank slate provided to him with the still all-too-fresh return of Jean Grey, who not only leads her own group of X-Men, but this book, and by the looks of it, this series. Taylor crafts a series of characters to compliment his forward-thinking real life-mimicking plots, with highlights coming from the somewhat humorous interplay between Wolverine and Honey Badger, and the explorative crate-digging of plots of comics past in the all-too-limited one-to-ones between Jean Grey and Nightcrawler. Mahmud Asrar, having spent some considerable time bringing recent incarnations of the X-Men ­­to life, hits a career-best momentum throughout, his art bringing Taylor’s ideas to life, capturing the characters, particularly Jean Grey and Nightcrawler, in a way we haven’t seen in some time. Admittedly, there are moments the consistency drops, some frames just don’t sit right, but when the plotting is so engaging and elsewhere the art is so flawless, there’s no real need to nit-pick.

It’s the grandiosity and ambitiousness of the ideas presented in X-Men Red #1 that shield it from the trappings of much of the recent X-Men fodder: whereas much of it has been rehashed plots we’ve heard and read time after time, Red brings in a range of refreshing and relevant characters – taking the story to Namor’s Atlantis and Black Panther’s Wakanda (a welcome move with the solo Black Panther movie in the spotlight right now) – to tell an old tale in a new way. It is the desperation in Jean Grey to create a world worth living – and dying – for that brings the deployment of explosive window-shattering screaming babies and pitchfork-wielding anti-Mutants to the fore in a way that feels fresh and removed from the tiredness of similar plots. Taylor goes as far as to mention previous plotlines with similar strands of ideas from X-Men incarnations gone by; it’s a subtle yet pleasing inclusion.

Without spoiling much of what makes this debut issue such an entertaining read, grand ideas of Mutant states suggested in the midst of United Nations meetings, and a cliff hanger that’s as frustrating to be left on as a Stranger Things ending, are set-ups for what feels like a stand-alone and spin-off worth sticking around for, particularly if there’s more politically-charged real life-mirroring monologues to come.

Whether you’ve been a fan of the recent X-Men output or not, X-Men Red #1 is a jolly continuation of the arcs and ideas presented thus far, and in Taylor & Asrar, Red has a magical team of creators.

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