For those who don’t remember (or never knew in the first place), the Season One initiative was started by Marvel to retell some of the origins of the big Marvel characters/teams in a more modern way and setting. X-Men was the 2nd one to be released, following the Fantastic Four. So, is this a successful journey?
X-Men Season One starts off with the arrival of Jean Grey to the Westchester mansion and we see the burgeoning team through her eyes. Hopeless takes bits of stories from a handful of X-Men issues #1-10 and mashes them together to show how the team works (or doesn’t work) together. We get Magneto’s attack on Cape Citadel (issue #1), Blob at the carnival (#3), the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (#4), Unus the Untouchable (#8), and some Savage Land action (#10). It’s a crash course in those crazy X-Men stories of the ’60s, minus the complete weirdness. It’s all very approachable material here and presented in a very cohesive manner.
The linking thread of these stories, though, are the relationships between the characters and those are the real shining moments in this book. You feel Cyclops’ self-doubt and aloofness, Iceman’s youthful excitement, Beast’s anger and regret, Angel’s rarely seen awkwardness. Most wonderful here is Jean. She is a strong character, a leader who doesn’t lead the team in title, but in heart.
The art by McKelvie is, well, beautiful. There’s a lot of inspiration for these costumes taken from the First Class film, which I happen to like a lot. His characters’ faces show a great deal of emotion and his depiction of them in general really hold true to the fact that they are teens.
Overall, the book is an excellent retelling of the X-Men’s origin with beautiful art. The end of the hardcover has the 1st issue of the new volume of Uncanny reprinted; I have no clue why they chose to put this here. I mean, if you’re picking this up because you are just starting to read and learn about the X-Universe and then you hit this issue, the only characters that are familiar are Cyclops and Magneto, who is now inexplicably a good guy. Plus, you just finished a story ending on Cyke and Jean getting together and now you’ve got Emma Frost instead. Outside of the issue reprint, I give the X-Men Season One HC high marks. Check it out.