The mutants of Krakoa have been rocking the Marvel Universe as of late, and this week they’re debuting a new team made up of the best in X-Men #1.
X-Men #1 is technically a relaunch of Jonathan Hickman’s flagship title of the Krakoa era, but whereas that run took a more anthological approach to its plotting, Gerry Duggan’s take on the team brings them back to the basics: classic superhero action. With Krakoa’s first official X-Men elected and ready for action, they’ve already got quite a few eyes on them with less-than-friendly intentions…
If you haven’t been keeping up with the Krakoa era up to this point–and I have difficulty imagining anybody reading this hasn’t–the status quo is set up rather quickly. Following the inaugural Hellfire Gala, the world is still reeling from the mutant colonization of Mars, now named for Arakko. The X-Men have set up their base of operations in Manhattan with a green structure called The Treehouse, and just as quickly as they’re all settled into their new digs, an alien threat attacks the city. After some synchronous teamwork, the invader is dispatched, but us readers are made privy to some machinations happening on the outside that suggest worse enemies to come.
(If you’re wondering about the status of Wanda Maximoff’s murder investigation, it’s mentioned here but otherwise irrelevant to what happens in the issue. They’re probably saving the bulk of that storyline for The Trial of Magneto.)
As the first issue of a new run, X-Men #1 is a pretty good starter that makes for a satisfying read on its own terms, while also setting up future plots that will undoubtedly come to fruition later on. We’re introduced to some key antagonists who don’t completely make themselves or their plans known, but long-term readers of the Krakoa era can definitely make a few educated guesses as to what’s at stake. It’s all within the bounds of plotting we’ve come to expect from Hickman and Co. since House of X and Powers of X, which should make for interesting developments to come. I’m also very much here for the cast of characters on the team, which is a decent mix of classic names (Jean Grey, Cyclops), fan-favorites (Polaris, Rogue, Laura Kinney/Wolverine), and a few wildcards who aren’t as beloved but deserve a spotlight (Sunfire, Synch).
As mentioned, Duggan is taking over from Hickman on the main X-Men title, and there’s enough of his style established on Marauders (quippy team dynamics, classic superhero adventure plotting) to make his take feel distinct while also retaining Hickman’s grandiose tone. A big part of that undoubtedly comes from the art team of Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia, who previously provided the visual storytelling of House of X to great effect. Everything that worked so well about that run on the art side of things is back here, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of their work on what will theoretically be the X-Men book of the entire line.