While I enjoyed the story of Gold #1 the controversy surrounding it definitely left a sour taste for the beginning of the new X-Men franchise relaunch. Though there was an unfortunate controversy surrounding Gold #1’s artwork, from a pure story standpoint Marc Guggenheim created a good first step for the X-Men to return to their former prominence. Now it is Cullen Bunn’s turn to sell the original X-Men squad as a team worth following. It hasn’t been an easy road for the original X-Men given that it has been shown they are unable to return to their own timeline. Now with X-Men: Blue Bunn has the chance to further explore what place the original five X-Men have in the current Marvel Universe. Let’s see what that spot is with X-Men: Blue #1.
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Jorge Molina and Matteo Buffagni
Colorist: Matt Milla
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Inside the Blackbird Iceman complains how slow the jet is moving and misses Pickle, their teleporting gremlin. Beast tells Iceman to stop complaining. Cyclops tells the two to cram it but Jean reminds everyone she is in charge now.
Outside the Blackbird, Angel spots the cruise ship owned by the guy they’ve been looking for. After the team lands on the cruise ship Jean uses her powers to figure out where everyone on the yacht is.
While going through the yacht Cyclops tells Iceman that he also misses all the things from their timeline. Iceman calls Cyclops out on his old man tendencies that make him seem like a hipster.
Jean tells the team to get ready and they enter the room where Black Tom Cassidy is holding people hostage. Understanding that Cassidy won’t just surrender Jean has Cyclops fire an optic blast, which Cassidy deflects. The X-Men quickly start working together to overwhelm Cassidy with their numbers.
Cassidy then reveals he has a surprise for the X-Men, which turns out to be Juggernaut. Juggernaut knocks Cyclops, Jean and Beast back with a charge. Cassidy tells Juggernaut to teach the X-Men a lesson without killing them.
Angel suddenly flies in and flies Cassidy into the ceiling. Juggernaut is caught off guard by this, giving Iceman the opportunity to ice him up. Juggernaut breaks out of the ice and is even angrier. Juggernaut starts chasing the X-Men, as he blames them for his brother’s death.
Cassidy tries to get back up but is quickly knocked out by Jean.
Juggernaut ends up chasing Cyclops outside. Iceman shows up on the side and uses his powers to create an ice floor. Juggernaut slips and Cyclops is saved by Angel just as the villain splashes into the water.
Before the X-Men can celebrate their win Juggernaut reappears and quickly tosses Iceman aside. The X-Men struggle in holding off Juggernaut so Beast decides to use a magic spell. Beast ends up sending Juggernaut away to an unknown location.
Cyclops wonders what Beast just did. Beast says he sent Juggernaut away. Cyclops thinks Beast went too far but Beast fires back by saying he did what he had to save people no matter what. The people on the cruise ship show that they are happy to be saved. Jean then starts repairing the damage caused to the ship.
Sometime later the X-Men arrive in Madripoor at a secluded building. As they walk through the building Cyclops wonders if they are not dropping the ball right now. Jean tells Cyclops he should relax some more and not always listen to what his Champions buddies are telling him.
Jean then leads the X-Men to report to their boss about taking care of Black Tom Cassidy. Magneto congratulates the X-Men on their success but says they have a lot of work ahead of them as he has various displays with mutant threats in the world.
Elsewhere police have assembled some locals in snowy city to hunt down a mysterious person causing trouble for everyone. The police and locals search through the woods for a while and end up cornering the person they are looking for.
Before they can shoot the person Wendigo appears out of nowhere. Wendigo starts thrashing all the locals. The mysterious person has enough of the carnage and shows himself to be Jimmy Hudson (son of Ultimate Wolverine).
While Jimmy fights Wendigo the sheriff runs away. The sheriff ends up stopping and heads back to where the fight between Jimmy and Wendigo was taking place. When she arrives at the location she only finds the locals she gather left lying in a pool of blood. End of issue.
The Good: X-Men: Blue #1 is a tale of two very different types of X-Men stories. Cullen Bunn does not hold back in delving into the various types of stories the X-Men get involved in, especially in the back-up and future teaser. In doing so Bunn is able to successfully create interest in where he is taking the X-Men: Blue ongoing. At the same time there is some things that are cause for concern with the way things are handled.
Starting X-Men: Blue #1 on a similar note that Gold #1 started by showing us the team in action was a great decision. It was a quick way to set the tone for what Bunn is looking to accomplish with X-Men: Blue, as he is going back to what made the franchise so enjoyable. Where things differ from Gold #1, is the fact that Bunn delves much more into the action/adventure aspect of the X-Men franchise with Blue #1.
The battle with Black Tom Cassidy and Juggernaut successfully shows Bunn’s understanding of how to stage a battle that shows of everyone’s powers. Even though the original X-Men in Blue are much younger than their Gold counterpart that does not mean they haven’t been team for a while now. Given that they’ve been working in the present Marvel Universe for a while now seeing how they were able to help each other out made the battle much more exciting.
Jean Grey being taking over the leadership role of the team helped add to the sense that this is a fresh start for the time displaced team. Her approach of not being serious 100% of the time like Cyclops was a refreshing thing to see from an X-Men leader. At the same time, Bunn did not shy away from showing how while successful in taking down Black Tom Cassidy and Juggernaut, the team has a ways to go from being as effective as other X-Men teams. The dysfunction between certain team members gives Jean as the team’s leader something to work through.
I’m most interest in Beast’s attitude towards Iceman and Cyclops in this issue. There was an annoyance in everything Beast was doing that Bunn highlighted. That came especially to a head when Beast got into a heated argument with Cyclops. That tension Beast has with his teammates is something I want to see explored more as it is not what we expect from the older version of the character.
Having Magneto act as the new Professor X of the original X-Men opens up a lot of possibilities for Bunn to explore. Given that the original X-Men brought to the present have not interacted with Magneto a lot it’ll be very interesting to see how Magneto’s relationship evolves with each member of the team. For now, Bunn did a good job using Magneto and his recent past to set up the current mission statement of this X-Men team involving going after mutant threats like Emma Frost.
Jorge Molina and Matteo Buffagni delivered some solid artwork. Given the action heavy nature of the majority of X-Men: Blue #1, Molina and Buffagni were able to go all out in showing off the powers of the X-Men, Juggernaut and Black Tom Cassidy. Though there weren’t big standout moments since we were bombarded with one big action sequences, Molina and Buffagni did there job in getting across how fun Bunn’s story was.
The Bad: The new relaunch of the X-Men franchise needed to act as a fresh start. When it came to the main story Bunn accomplished this goal with X-Men: Blue #1. Unfortunately it’s the back-up featuring what lookings to be Jimmy Hudson from the Ultimate Universe that Bunn falters with this issue. Seeing Jimmy in the regular Marvel Universe adds a sense of confusion that is not needed. Given that X-Men: Blue features the original time displaced X-Men we did not need to have another such character added to the mix.
It’s a very old X-Men story trope to have time displaced characters, especially when we already have Old Man Logan, Rachel Grey and Cable running around along with the original X-Men. Adding Jimmy Hudson to the mix did not feel like a very creative addition to make. Rather, it creates a further barrier to penetration when it comes to the X-Men franchise that is already hard to penetrate given all its continuity. While we look to be stuck with dealing with yet more time displaced X-Men from the back-up teaser, for the good of X-Men: Blue’s future we will hopefully see more of a focus on what made the main story such a fun read.
Overall: X-Men: Blue #1 is a very good start to what could potentially be the strongest of the relaunched X-Men titles. The reveal of a character from the Ultimate Universe does create a cause for concern with how unnecessarily complicated things could become. That said, the main story of X-Men: Blue #1 has me hopeful for Cullen Bunn’s run to be successful one.