As a rule, I try not to Google anything about what I’ve read for Comic Virgins until I’ve at least written up a few thoughts. Even though I’m really curious who Grant Morrison is, and what’s so “new” about this X-Men volume, I’ll abstain from the interwebs for a moment to digest what I read.

[Comic Virgins: recurring series. Amanda reads comics suggested by Ben and Mike.]

With that in mind, I should say that I’ve seen all of the X-Men films, whether that’s to my benefit or harm. I probably relied on them a wee too much for background knowledge, but at least I recognized about five out of every six characters. According to the first issue, this came out a while ago (2001?), so sorry I’m not sorry if I spoil something.

I imagine her voice sounds like Hannibal Lector's. Seriously, chick is nuts.

I imagine her voice sounds like Hannibal Lector’s. Seriously, chick is nuts.

Without context, I felt a little dropped in-medias-res, but not to such a point that I couldn’t understand the general plot. I just didn’t understand back story, I guess. What happened to Cyclops (that’s his name, right? I’m trying not to flip back for everything)? Seems rough and that it’s ruining his marriage to Jean Grey (who’s still alive, much to my surprise. Dead in the movies, I thought?). It feels like there are two plots in this volume (which includes a special annual issue that was literally ALL two-page spreads, which was kinda crazy): trying to murder mutants (plot in the regular comics), and trying to harvest their organs to create human-mutant hybrids (plot in the annual issue). You’d think those would be mutually exclusive, but then you’d be wrong.

That is the creepiest smile. Ever.

That is the creepiest smile. Ever.

Geeze, humanity. Pick one. Do you want to kill them or be them? Talk about whiplash.

I’ll admit, that plot line was interesting. I knew that mutants and humans could seemingly co-exist, but I’d never thought about whether or not they could swap organs – by choice or by force. It doesn’t seem like those skin/organ grafts take too well, though, so perhaps people learned their lessons? (I think not, but then I’ve only read the first volume). The hardest part to follow was when our X-Men crew was in China in the special issue, fighting against the dude trying to weaponize the dude that has a star in his head. (Literally, I tried several times to make that sentence clearer, but I’m being honest, I got super lost at that part and trying to figure out who’s who.)

The twist/cliffhanger at the climax of the last issue of the volume was pretty cray-cray – as well as the art with it:

Poor kitty.

Poor kitty.

But now, flipping back through the issues, I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t draw the connection between the twins thing with these two frames, which clearly show a familial resemblance about two issues earlier:

Seriously, HOW DID I NOT SEE THIS?

Seriously, HOW DID I NOT SEE THIS?

To bring up art, this is what I would call “clean.” Most of the art is kept within clean boundaries on a white or dark background, which allows the reader to sink into the story. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for steadily memorable art, but a few of the splash pages (like the one above) are powerful enough to stand out. Letters were standard – nothing really stuck out, but nothing made them hard to read, so that’s good. Frank Quitely seems to be the artist for the regular issues, while Leinil Yu is the artist for the Annual issue (see creepy smile dude, since I can’t get another image to upload). They definitely have different styles, which does help off-set it as a special issue.

All in all, they were solid issues and a solid storyline. But I’ve got major beef with one thing, and that’s one issue cover:

boobs

Okay, that’s not even what her costume looks like in the actual issues issues:

So sassy. No boobs necessary.

So sassy. No boobs necessary.

So WHY? Why can’t we have a sexy superheroine that’s not flashing her bits everywhere? I’m not a prude. I’m all for a girl wearing whatever she damn well pleases, old-school morals be damned. But it just feels cheap to plaster her breasts (and let’s be honest, we’re all thinking the same thing about how that costume is impossibly covering the essentials) on the cover of an issue that more deals with her transitioning in her powers than in her appearance. She is now able to become solid diamond, but yet she’s pictured with normal skin, in a costume that was only used in the special issue (which is technically after this one?). Why wouldn’t they highlight her change, if she’s going to be splashed across a  cover? It made me shake my head on first reading, and I still can’t get over it. I don’t like it, but I know that hypersexualization (of both female AND male characters) is pervasive in comics. It’s pervasive in a lot of entertainment, which probably says something a lot greater about our society than I care to delve into in this installment.

So do I want to continue? I’m kind of “meh,” overall, save for that last issue. That’s when the story started to get good, and I would like to know how that’s resolved. But other than that, I could do without most of it. I’d only really want to continue if I were guaranteed that the story only gets better like it did in the last issue. I could take or leave the relationship drama and “third species” special issue adventure. What’s your take? Love or hate the New X-Men?

About The Author

Hey there! I'm Amanda, and I'm the managing editor for DetroyTheCyborg! I come to the job with a background in journalism, English, American culture and all-around interest in what makes up our site.

For a living, I'm a government reporter for a newspaper my hometown. Seeing as that can be a bit monotonous, I welcome the opportunity to write occasional book (and other) reviews for DTC. If you see a book coming up I should review, let me know!

My interests are many and varied. I love table top games, bad movies (and good films!), music of all genres and the occasional graphic novel. Ben P. is trying his hardest to increase my interest in comic books - stay tuned for the outcome of THAT adventure. When it comes to books, I've yet to find a genre that I won't read. I have a particular affinity to Lord of the Rings and non-fiction first-person explorations - see Mary Roach's Stiff or Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals for examples.

My other abilities? I find that I make a mean batch of cinnamon rolls, and I can (most of the time) keep the crayon inside the lines.

One Response to Comic Virgins: Grant Morrison’s New X-Men Vol. 1

  1. Scott Gregson says:

    That cover is actually one of her (at the time) LESS revealing outfits. Honest. The “underpants and corset” look she wore waay back in her early appearances – as a villain – were even more “minimal”. As far as an “explanation” goes (or possibly an “excuse”) the point is that she is perfectly comfortable with her body, and uses her sexuality in order to make others (men) uncomfortable, giving her a specific advantage over them. So yes, it’s hypersexualised, and it’s kinda pervy, but it’s also “in character” in so much as can be. It’s been true throughout her history. You’ll note that the pieces make an X across her body in the negative/uncovered areas though, yeah? I didn’t notice it until it was pointed out at the time. It’s obviously not to everyone’s taste, and I can’t really say it’s to mine, but I just wanted to mention it.