Until now, I have not tried this comic. After reading an interview with the author, I was intrigued enough to read this issue. New X-Men titles do not have a good track record. This book will need to impress me. Overall the X-books are not what they used to be. But maybe this book will be an exception and show that new X-books can be successful.
Previously…after the X-Men disbanded, Cyclops recruited a new team consisting of Wolf Cub, Dust, Blindfold, Rockslide, and Ink. Their first mission was to hunt down former members of the New Mutants who were recreating the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Wolf Cub died. “Cyclops” turned out to be Donald Pierce, a longtime enemy of the X-Men. Now the team has joined the real X-Men.
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Ben Oliver
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Dust is walking with Donald Pierce. He is in a prison uniform. He is trying to find out why she keeps visiting him. She finds him interesting to talk to. He reminds her that he lied to them, taught them, and led them. He thinks it is because he knows that one of them is not a mutant. He believes that she is hoping it is her.
24 hours earlier…the Young X-Men are flying to their next mission. A discussion is going on about who the non-mutant member could be. Rockslide says that Dr. McCoy(the Beast) told him that the mysterious Graymalkin is definitely a mutant. Dust is surprised that Rockslide talked to Graymalkin. She thought he was insane.
In a flashback, we look in on a talk between Graymalkin and Emma Frost. She explains that she is a telepath but she will not read his mind unless he gives permission. He refuses.
The questions about the non-mutant continue. Rockslide hopes it is Ink. The mission they are on is to find missing construction workers. They disappeared on an island. Sunspot thinks the workers are dead. They split up to search.
Back in the present…Pierce says he will be glad to tell Dust who is the non-mutant. In exchange for that information, he wants her to answer a question. He knows that Dust is hoping she is not a mutant. He wants to know why she doesn’t want to be a mutant.
Back on the island, Anole and Sunspot are searching for the construction workers. Anole is questioning Sunspot about him leading the Hellfire Club. Sunspot explains it was because of a promise he made to a friend. Cannonball was with him because he wanted to talk Sunspot out of being in the Hellfire Club. They are suddenly attacked by a large monster. Anole jokes that they found what happened to the workers.
In the present…Pierce is saying that it is an awful thing being a mutant. Dust says she is a Muslim and a mutant. Pierce is a bigot. She will not give him the satisfaction of hating herself because she is a mutant. Her questions have to do with being a X-Man.
Mirage and Rockslide are searching a different part of the island. She wants to know if Rockslide is staying with the X-Men only to make problems for Ink. He says that he is part of the team now. It has nothing to do with Ink.
On the other side of the island, Sunspot is on the back of the monster. He recognizes it. Anole wants to know if it is an ex-girl friend of Sunspot’s. Sunspot jumps into it’s mouth.
Mirage is telling the others that the island is a Krakoa. Dust thought there was only one. Mirage replies that there are not many living things that there is only one of.
Sunspot bursts through the creature. He tells Anole that his friend, who is developing the island, said it was not on any maps. Anole wants to know if the creature is dead. Sunspot believes it is just resting. The creature is part of the island’s immune system.
Pierce says that Dust was eager to be an X-Man. She says that was before he killed her friend. He knows that she has seen many people die. What has changed?
Mirage and Sunspot are discussing the situation on their communicators. The good news is that the original Krakoa treated mutants as a food source. The construction workers could still be alive since it ignores non-mutants.
In the present, Pierce wants to know why Dust does not want to be a X-Man. She says she shouldn’t trust him. He realizes that as long as she is a mutant, she feels obligated to remain with the X-Men. It has to be because of something she recently discovered. She is telling him because he is the only one she can trust with the information. She tells him that he is the only one who won’t care…that she is dying.
Back on the island, Ink is bringing the workers to a ship. Mirage asks Rockslide how he figured out that Ink is the non-mutant. Rockslide knew when the island let Ink rescue the workers when it attacked all of the others. He isn’t sure if Ink knows. Mirage does not think so. She had Emma scan him and he is one hundred percent human. He is their team mate and he has some difficult news coming his way.
The Good: Guggenheim crafted a very good story. I liked the way he interspersed the conversation between Dust and Pierce with the flashback to the mission on the island.
The back and forth between Dust and Pierce was excellent. Neither one trusts the other. Both were trying to figure out what the other wanted to know. Her reasons for talking to Pierce made sense. Who else wouldn’t care? I am curious as to what is killing her. This will bring me back to read future issues.
The island story was interesting. The explanation about how another Krakoa exists makes sense. A few questions remain. What will they do with the island? Are there other Krakoas out there?
The art team does a good job drawing the monster on Krakoa. The other thing Oliver does a good job with is the close-ups. He is able to display emotions by the way he draws the facial expressions in the close-ups.
The Bad: When I think X-Men, I think of the classic artists. Artists like Cockrum, Byrne, Smith, and Lee. I realize this is not the main X-book but the art is lacking. Unfortunately, he seems to not worry about the backgrounds. They try to cover this up by the creative use of colors but the backgrounds are still empty.
Part of this falls on the inks. When you look back at the Byrne/Austin artwork, a lot of the background detail was filled in by Austin. The inker was almost like a co-artist. I think the overall effect was better back then. The lack of a separate inker hurts this book.
Overall: A very well written comic with o.k. art. The writer has gotten my attention. I am going to read the previous issues and will continue with the new ones. I feel the art is hurting the book but the writing will carry the story.