Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Classics - Giant-Size X-Men #1

   With the passing this week of writer / editor Len Wein, the thoughts of comics fans all over the world turned to some of his amazing, ground-breaking work - and I'd argue that his most lasting impact came from this issue: Giant-Size X-Men.

   As a huge fan of the original series in the '60s, which featured amazing work by Roy Thomas and Neal Adams, I was stunned when it was canceled. The team (Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman and Marvel Girl) continued to appear in reprints for five years - until this issue appeared in 1975.

   Written and edited by Wein and drawn by Dave Cockrum (who also inked the cover by Gil Kane), the issue focused on a different group of mutants, as Professor Xavier traveled around the world, recruiting new members for his team - but why?

   It gave the team an international cast, as he gathered Storm in Africa, Colossus in Russia, Nightcrawler in Germany, Thunderbird from America, and Wolverine from Canada.

   They joined forces with Cyclops (wearing a new costume), and set out to rescue the original team from a towering menace.

   The fresh new approach to the team, combined with amazing, dynamic artwork by the endlessly inventive Cockrum, created an exciting new comic that quickly became Marvel's most popular title - a ranking it would hold for decades.

    Many fans consider this issue to be the point at which a comics age turned - from Silver to Bronze. (Others place it earlier, at the first issue of Conan the Barbarian, while some point to Kirby's move to DC Comics.)

   Whatever the case, the issue paved the way for Marvel's long-time dominance of the comics market, and forced every title to up its game in an attempt to keep up with the exciting stories being told.

   Others would carry the title to even greater heights, but it all started here - and it's just one of hundreds of great comics created by Wein.

Grade: A+


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