Friday, August 3, 2012

The First X-Men #1

After doing fantastic work for years at DC, Neal Adams moved to Marvel in the late '60s, and his first work was on the X-Men.

I remember being stunned by his work - it combined the dynamic energy of Kirby, Steranko's fresh designs and layouts, and the kinetic stylings of Buscema.

Adams immediately became one of Marvel's top artists, and one of my personal favorites - I happily bought everything he drew.

After a few years, he focused on other endeavors, and his comic book art only appeared occasionally. That's (happily) changed in recent years, as he seems to be focusing more on creating new work. At DC, he revisited Batman in a maxi-series, and now he's back on the "prequel" comic, The First X-Men, as both artist and co-writer with Christos Gage.

The issue focuses on the struggles of mutants before Professor Xavier formed the first X-Men team, as Wolverine and Sabretooth join forces to track down mutants before a mysterious government agency finds them. It's a good combination of familiar characters and some new faces.

The story's fine - it's all setup and gathering the characters at this point - but the reason to pick up this comic is the art.

Adams really seems to be going all out to prove he's still one of the big dogs in the industry - each page crackles with energy, he loads on lush details and dramatic, emotional layouts. And there's a jaw-dropping double-page splash that should delight any comics fan.

The story seems to be playing fair with past continuity so far - which is only fair, since Adams built quite a bit of it.

So far, so good!

Grade: A-


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