Review by Ian Keogh
With so many X-Men titles over the years and so many X-Men altogether, the first question to be asked about any new series is what makes it different? On this score, X-Men Blue has a good start. It features the original five X-Men, literally those from the 1960s, pulled through time into the 21st century where some have adult counterparts, and others have learned why they don’t. They’re younger, more inexperienced and not mired down by the emotional complications and transformations endured by those adult counterparts. So far, so fresh.
Also good is having Magneto act as mentor to the young team. As far as they’re concerned they’ve battled him several times as he’s tried to take over the world, so accepting how much he’s changed over the years through which they’ve jumped is difficult, Jean Grey having read his mind notwithstanding. Magneto isn’t the only foe introduced that the young X-Men already know, as Cullen Bunn mixes the new with the old, with some familiar faces not exactly the known versions, and that all keeps things interesting. The same applies to the slightly altered abilities of the 1960s X-Men. It’s now very much Jean Grey who everyone looks up to, and with the exception of Cyclops everyone has learned new tweaks on basic powers.
Four artists are involved, two on the final chapter, and for better or worse a constant changing of artists is a feature of the series. If you don’t like a particular style, it doesn’t matter as the artist won’t be around for long, but it’s a shame if you do. The looseness of Jorge Molina is our introduction to the team, followed by Julian Lopez, who has a clearer style. Ray Anthony Height and Ramón Bachs share the final chapter, the latter’s work not as polished as usual, possibly the result of a short deadline. A difficulty of the rotating artists is that each has a different idea of how old/young the various X-Men are. Under Height some barely look to have entered their teens.
For all the known faces Bunn includes, there’s never any real sense of him doing anything other than filling pages chapter by chapter, little of the imagination seen on other projects he’s written. By the bizarre and rapid end he’s introduced another bunch of leather-clad mutants before he’s really come to to grips with the title team, and it doesn’t bode well for a further four collections, beginning with Toil and Trouble.