X-Men Regenesis #1
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Billy Tan and Andres Mossa
At some point when preparing to buy this issue I got the gut feeling that it would be a big “Who goes where” kind of issue, and I wasn’t wrong. The entirety of the issue is made up of Logan and Scott making their recruitments, and X-Men choosing sides. To a point it’s almost like filler at first glance, as most of these reveals were spoiled by Marvel’s X-Men teasers over the last few months. However, Kieron Gillen does a great job at not only making the decisions feel important, but at making the story feel important to read as a bridge between Schism and everything coming next.
The issue is framed with an almost tribal battle of Scott versus Logan in what could easily be taken as caveman form. The fight itself shows the X-Men choosing sides, with each extended scene capped with that member walking towards who they chose. Initially I felt it to be kind of corny, but as the issue went on it really started to grow on me. Sure, it’s not an epic brawl, but seeing all the designs and the quiet shifting of sides grew to become a cool visual
The issue as a whole isn’t action packed, but it is filled with a lot of good character moments and interactions. Every little potential oddity is handled smoothly, and the reasons for Iceman leaving and him being the first taken do a lot more to build the character then I’ve seen in quite some time. Gillen’s use of Beast actually makes me regret that he’s in Jason Aaron’s book, though I could say the same for Bobby. The Kitty and Colossus ‘break up’ is actually really well handled and doesn’t follow the path of “You’re the Juggernaut now so I’m leaving” that I expected, instead having Peter once again bear the weight of his choices and sacrifices on his back in a very reasonable manner and Kitty having to respect it. There’s other nice stuff as well, Cannonball and Moonstar share a good moment, the recruitment of characters like Havok and Lorna give a nod to long term readers, while Rachel’s reminds readers that the characters left Earth before in the aftermath of House of M, long before Utopia. Husk and Dazzler get spotlight moments, and while Dazzler’s actually sets her up as a potential regular in a book, Husk’s I’ll admit to just enjoying due to my love of Generation X. The scene with the Generation Hope characters is followed up on in that book pretty nicely, but it’s handled so well here that the four pages from this book are reprinted in the tie in issue this week.
The whole dynamic Logan is going for, actually turning things back into a school enviroment is an interesting one, but I still don’t think he’s the ideal character to do it. Someone like Beast or Iceman, sure. Hell, any of the New Mutants, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Storm, the list goes on with characters who are better suited to run a school than Wolverine. I mean, the man isn’t even disbanding his personal hit squad in X-Force (alright, so they don’t hunt down his enemies, but he does lead them) but he’s going to be running the school. Sure, I wouldn’t nominate Scott for the job either at this point, but Gillen actually gives a nice little nod to this in the issue with a line from Beast about how he expects to do the job while Logan gets the credit. Sounds about right, but hey, Beast in an X, I’ve missed it.
My favorite parts of the issue can easily be narrowed down to the long forgotten X-Kids of New X-Men and Academy X…and New X-Men again having their own little rift that is once again Hellion on one side and Prodigy on the other, which to me was really cool because I love those two characters and everyone else who pops up in this little two page showcase. The Young X-Men title they released to replace New X-Men after Messiah Complex was awful, and the majority of these characters have been relegated to cameos. So two pages of just them? To me that’s just awesome. But better than that? Scott and Emma’s discussion about where she will go, because as I mentioned before, she’d be a top choice to run a school. Despite being more widely known for her Hellfire Club background, Ms. Frost is famously a headmistress who has run three different mutant schools…although they were only run about as successfully as any mutant school can be run. Lots of death. Not really her fault, but worth noting. Despite everything Scott has gone through during Schism, and how cold and methodical as he is through out this issue, Emma is able to bring him back down to Earth with what she represents to him. It’s a great character moment for the two, and I can’t wait for more once Uncanny starts over next month.
You won’t see me say this about many artists, but if you’re going to use Chris Bachalo for the cover, then get him to do interiors! It sets a bar that few artists can match! This isn’t a knock to Billy Tan, it’s just me whining that I wanted Chris Bachalo here and not have to wait for Wolverine and the X-Men. Billy Tan does a fine job here, and while some panels are hit and miss, the larger sequences look nice, and the caveman like battle between Scott and Logan looks fantastic. Seriously, my biggest complaint with the art is wanting more of that because it just looks awesome and I imagine that is what landed him on the job with this issue. This really isn’t meant to discount what he does here, because this issue looks really good. Andres Mossa’s colors need to be noted when talking about the fight though, as they take something that I imagine looked great after Tan pencilled and inked, but the colors are just awesome. Everything about that sequence, really, I can’t say enough.
Generally when there’s some X one shot or mini spinning out of an event to help set up a new status quo we get a few issues of short stories by various writers that run the range from good at best, to unreadable crap at worst. Yet for the most part most of us check out that first issue because, hey, why not? It’s not usually until the issue is over that we feel like we wasted our four bucks on something that doesn’t even feature name brand creative talent. Regenesis is evidence of that trend changing, as I don’t see tie in minis on the horizon, and this is just one issue. One issue written by the current and future writer of Uncanny X-Men, who has been tieing his Generation Hope into Schism and this fluidly. Kieron Gillen turns what could have easily been thrown together filler into a really great character story about the X-Men as a whole. It’s great moments, great characterization, and reasonable explanations for everything except why Wolverine is so school obsessed. Really a great read for X fans or people who have been getting interested in the upcoming relaunch in a few weeks.
Tags: billy tan, kieron gillen, Reviews, Schism, X-Men, X-Men: Regenesis