Title: What If Charles Xavier & Magneto Had Created The X-Men Together
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Chris Claremont
Art: Tom Raney & Scott Hanna
Letterer: Chris Eliopolos
Colorist: Gina Going-Raney
Editor: CB Cebluski
Publisher: Dan Buckley
It must be kismet. It must be the fact that I don’t consider who is writing a book before I say ‘Sure, I’ll do it!’. When Chris D. asked who wanted to take some WHAT IF? books, I said ‘Hey, I know there’s an X-Men title in there, I’ll get it!’ I didn’t think about who was writing it, assuming it was probably Bendis or Vaughn, since they write everything. The idea that Chris Claremont might didn’t even cross my mind. So now I have to reap what I’ve sewn and review this honking pile of crap that is ‘What If Magneto & Xavier Had Started The X-Men’.
First things first, this story briefly retells a meeting back in the early days of Mags and Xavier’s friendship, specifically when Magneto chooses that humans aren’t as good as mutants. In our ‘What If’ version, Magneto doesn’t think that – although I’m completely unsure what he thinks actually other than how Nazi’s are bad. I can only assume that he changes his mind and chooses that Xavier can figure it all out, as he’s only seen briefly in the issue after the first few pages and more as a throw-in character than anything.
Back in the X-Mansion, which exists in some form in this alternate reality, this seemingly unrelated incident does the most amazing thing! It actually changes the original five X-Men’s ages along with Kitty Pryde’s. They are all seemingly about the same age since Kitty already works for Xavier when the original Fab Five start to show up (Meaning Beast and Jean.. and an odd cameo by Cyclops with Sinister). Jean is a girl who, because of an incident with a car accident – is now a comatose mutant. Somehow this very same car accident must have been caused by Magneto not becoming evil… isn’t that what this book is supposed to be about?
Sage, Mystique, Wolverine, and a whole slew of characters that don’t appear until much later in X-time are here and kicking. No sign of Pietro, Scarlet Witch, Toad, or the Blob – odd. Weren’t they the original foils to the X-Men? Remember, that Brotherhood that Mags started oh so long ago… oh nevermind.
To complete my obligated telling you about the narrative:
Some Sentinals attack
Xavier forms the official X-Men.
That’s the story. No, I’m not kidding. No, I don’t get it either.
I’ve finally come to decide that I am no longer going to read Chris Claremont comics in the way that one would read a man who once defined an entire universe of characters like he and John Byrne did. I’m now going to watch him as a man who is slowly sinking into his own weird kind of X-Dementia, because his stories are slowly but surely making less and less sense. Between this and his fill-in issue of Adjectiveless X-Men (or is it still ‘New’.. I don’t know anymore) I think he has given up complete understanding of not only how characters interact in the new millenia, but how a standard narrative is told.
I’m sorry I can’t give you any more full on details about what happens in this issue, but it truly reads like Claremont wanted to write Ultimate X-Men and got snubbed – so he invented this ‘It’s Not a What If’ scenerio to show you how his little X-Fantasy would work.
Every once in awhile I try and point out a particularly moving, striking, or stupid cover. I mean, these covers are what’s supposed to sell the book to me by telling me what lies within, right? Well aside from the witty barb about the title being wrong (since Magneto has very little to do with this story), I just wanted to point out that Jean Grey is on the cover in full Marvel Girl attire. This might come across like a bit of a nitpick, but she isn’t even awake until the end of the book. She isn’t even in her costume, minus the last panel. A different costume than the one in front mind you.
Now internally, Raney is a mixed bag. There are panels that look like picture perfect action sequences. Nothing spectacular, but perfectly adequate for the page. There are other scenes where something seems off. I noticed it once in Wolverine’s stance and musculature. I noticed it a batch of times with Sage’s weird broad smile. To put it simply, it seems rushed. No complaints on the coloring or inking though, they were peachy.
Lately I’ve been writing harsher reviews about books – and I swear it’s not because I’m becoming like some other embittered, angry, comic reviewers that I know of. It’s honestly because I keep buying bad books. I’ll do my best to stop that trend in the future – but I guess, since I’m doing it”¦ you don’t have to.