The First X-Men Cover Neal AdamsSome time, several years ago, Wolverine attempted to aid a young fellow mutant named Anthony, the son of a war buddy, but was unable to prevent the boy from self-destructing from his own mutant powers.  He then hatches a plan, involving his partner Sabretooth, to help the young mutants of the world.  Sabretooth isn’t sold but accompanies him to a facility to collect data on the government’s anti-mutant agenda.  They find Anthony’s body on a lab table with some strange probe-like devices overhead and Logan uses two samurai swords to destroy the controls.  The pair are found by two armored guards who recognize them as Logan and Creed.  They battle with the mutants winning and escaping.  Logan reviews the files they stole and realizes that the facility was understaffed because their forces were on the move, after another mutant in Washington DC, named Holly Bright.  The pair find Bright using her powers to make money, but they are interrupted by the armored thugs.

Finally, there are two scenes involving Charles Xavier and Magneto.  In the Xavier interlude, Logan chastises Xavier who is “in the closet” and planning on getting married to Moira McTaggert.  Xavier states, “I’m engaged!  I have a future!  I am going to get married, have children and live a happy, boring professor’s life!” and then, “On the day I die, it will be as a human being!”  On top of that, Wolverine then berates him, “On the day you die, the last thing you’ll hear is the voices’a all those souls you coulda helped… and didn’t!”  The Magneto scene is pretty much ripped right out of the movie ‘X-Men” First Class.’  Seriously, it practically felt plagiarized.

Wow this book was one long, downward spiral into crap.  I was struggling at first.  I mean… this is Neal Adams!  The LEGENDARY Neal Adams, whose dynamic and realistic style revitalized the industry in the late 60s and early 70s.  He will always be the definitive Batman illustrator of my youth.  But that was a long ass time ago, and things change.

Let’s start with the art.  It doesn’t look exactly like the Adams artwork I grew up with.  It’s almost like he was mimicking mid-90s Image-style art.  It’s still incredibly detailed and his storytelling remains solid, but it’s not as realistic-looking as it used to be.  It’s more stylized and slightly cartoon-y.  At times it’s fluid and at other times stiff.  It’s… just okay.  Oh and Magneto has a mullet.  Yuck.

Honestly, I felt like he and co-writer  Christos Gage didn’t understand the characters at all.  Logan as the driven, man-on-a-mission to save mutantkind– the rational, passionate freedom fighter?  Xavier as the milquetoast coward hiding in the closet, afraid to stand up for mutantkind?  That was just awful!  I’m not sure if this series is supposed to be set within continuity, but if it is, I’m ignoring it.

No.  Don’t read this.  Logan doesn’t act like Logan.  (He doesn’t even pop his claws!)  Charles doesn’t act like Charles.  There’s a new character that’s made up, named Holo.  I guess Sabretooth comes across the most in-character here.  It’s not worth it.  Even looking at it from a parallel universe story, it’s still to by-the-numbers and mediocre.

Verdict: Burn

THE FIRST X-MEN #1
Written by Neal Adams and Christos Gage
Art and Cover by Neal Adams