Marvel Comics has recently rebooted the X-Men universe. (Save your faux shocked faces and gasps). As part of the reboot, they launched two new primary X-Men titles: X-men Blue and X-Men Gold. (If you haven’t checked out the Four Minute Firsts that @EarthNerdAdkins is doing on YouTube, you should definitely check out his review of X-Men Gold #1 and X-Men Blue #1, mainly because they are awesome.)
Though both books have been met with some well deserved critical acclaim, the clear front runner so far seems to be X-Men Blue, which focuses on the time displaced place original team, consisting of Marvel Girl, Cyclops, Beast, Angel and Iceman. (Awhile ago they were pulled into the current time and then, you know, because it is comics, they broke the time stream and can’t go back.)
The praise of the book is well deserved as it does several things really well. First and foremost, writer Cullen Bunn has a really good handle on the characters and voices. I believe in these teenaged, time displaced characters who know that they are supposed to grow into icons but are also just trying to survive.
Second, the art has been stellar by Jorge Molina. For way too long, anytime we had teenage characters we have run into the sad super sexy version of those characters, often through the male gaze. Molina draws these characters as the awkward, adolescents that they are supposed to be and it adds tremendous value.
Thirdly, if you are a long time X-Men fan, this book is doing the difficult work of pointing to the past, with its unimaginable rich history around mutantdom, while working forward as well. The combination of all those factors makes this book a clear winner and worth subscribing to.
Was X-Men First Class the Inspiration for X-Men Blue?
<But, to be honest, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Because a decade ago, Marvel did a somewhat similar exercise that was critically acclaimed as well, even to the point that they ripped off the title to relaunch their Fox movie franchise: X-Men First Class.
X-Men First Class was a mini-series that started in 2006 that was written by Jeff Parker, drawn by Roger Cruz with a lot of cover work done by Marko Djurdjevic. Where the similarities lie is the book focused on the first wave of X-Men characters that we know and love.
Like X-Men Blue, that focus helps the story and, again, it reminds us why these characters have become so iconic. While there isn’t the time jumped element of the current series, Parker chose to tell stories about the first team in the original era that bent around some of the existing continuity. It gave that team a modern update that wasn’t necessarily needed but definitely was appreciated. (Those old comics read like, well, old comics; a modern reader would have a hard time connecting with the first era of X-Men if they were just given those books and told to start.)
By finding those stories and giving them a modern bent, the first class of X-Men become stars again and Cruz’s art was a stellar partner. It eventually launched another mini-series and they used the First Class idea around some other stories as well, without as much success.
If you are liking the current work of X-Men Blue, then you should definitely check out the first mini-series of X-Men First Class. You will find it to have a similar tone and aesthetic, while focusing on the same characters that are making the current title so great.