A double-size debut for a book about the original 5 X-Men, and it’s not written by Chris Claremont? That’s strange.
The premise of the story is that this team will investigate and rescue newly apparent mutants who get sidewise with the law or their communities—as the U.S. Government steps up it’s efforts to corral and imprison people with powers.
And it wouldn’t be an X-book without melodrama. Scott and Jean are reunited for the first time since she was pulled out of the Hudson River in a cocoon, and he’s interrupted before he can tell her he’s married with child.
Also, since it’s a first issue, we get the nice little individualized “come together” scenes, with Beast, Angel and Iceman still reeling from the breakup of The Defenders. It’s the news, delivered in a cameo by Mr. Fantastic, that Jean is alive that brings the five together again.
The only disconnect for me in this is the premise. Having a strike team, like X-Force, that saves mutants is perfectly fine—it’s consistent with Professor X’s original vision—but Angel hooks up with an ad exec and decides they should do this for money. That’s never been a motive for them before, and Angel already has enough money.
But that’s the twist.
At the end of the issue, it becomes clear that they’re billing the person who feels THREATENED by the mutant in order to essentially get paid to rescue the mutant.
The mutant rescued in this issue is Rusty Collins, aka Firefist, who will be a part of the team for good run. Having a new, young character is a good entry point for new readers. It’s also a nice counterpoint for the premise: These 5 heroes were kids the last time they all teamed up, and now they’re not—and new kids are coming into the fold.
Writer Bob Layton does a good job of tying into the Claremont universe with respect and solid, consistent characterization, and this early work by Butch Guice is solid. It’s kind of a cleaner take on Paul Smith, a fan-favorite X-Men artist.
Creators: Bob Layton, Butch Guice