Review by Ian Keogh
The idea of pulling the original young and inexperienced X-Men through time to the 21st century proved inspired as it initially resulted in material offering a fresh and interesting perspective. However, the longer they hung around, the more they became just another bunch of young mutants. Attempting to boost Cyclops’ outlook by having him join his father for space piracy in Starstruck didn’t halt the diminishing returns, so could a new creative team of John Layman and Javier Garrón reverse the decline?
They start well, emphasising how the young Scott Summers is well beyond his comfort zone, not just catapulted forward a couple of decades, but also in space with the Starjammers, who routinely visit other worlds. There’s a rapid transfer to a different pirate crew, and Layman treats that like the newbie aboard the Enterprise, with Scott running into strange people and situations whichever corner he turns. Layman creates an interesting new supporting cast with their design and environment well constructed by Garrón. However, what’s not really credible is the rapid learning curve Scott experiences with regard to alien technology, which is not only convenient for him, it’s convenient for Layman’s plot. Also unconvincing is Layman’s transformation of Scott’s personality from the uncertain and brooding young teenager to a master manipulator capable of tricking seasoned pirates, even if presented as dim. Again, it’s fitting the character to the plot, rather than keeping him consistent. Making allowances for his being an X-Man, Cyclops experiences the sort of emotional trauma requiring years in therapy, yet here trivialised along with much else, as if everyone’s just play acting.
Fun as it is to begin with, It’s a Pirate’s Life meanders, and even Garrón’s active imagination can’t disguise this with visual splendour. The sitcom in space is definitely an improvement on what was offered in Starstruck, except for the final chapter, which is part of the Black Vortex storyline and means very little divorced from the remainder in a rush to a cop-out ending.