Extraordinary X-Men #8 Writer: Jeff Lemire Pencils: Humberto Ramos and Victor Ibanez Colors: Edgar Delgado and Sotocolor Letters: Joe Caramagna Publisher: Marvel
Extraordinary X-Men #8 kicks off the newest X-Men crossover, Apocalypse Wars. Jeff Lemire’s new series along with Cullen Bunn’s Uncanny X-Men and Dennis Hopeless’ All New X-men, will be telling their own stories surrounding the X-Men’s greatest foe, Apocalypse.
Here, Storm and her newly formed team are taken aback when cerebra has detected nearly six hundred new mutants in Tokyo, Japan. Colossus takes some of his young trainees to investigate the surprising and uplifting yet suspicious news. Meanwhile, Magik takes her new protege, Sapna, to see one of her most influential mentors, Doctor Stephen Strange. With the help of the Sorcerer Supreme, we uncover Sapna’s mutant powers as well as the source of her magical abilities, as well as potential for an even greater power then previously thought of.
Story A has the hooks of the potential from the reveal of the source of the sudden abundance of Japanese mutants as well as the eventual outcome and mystery behind Colossus and his team. While story B is capturing the intriguing mentor and protege dynamic between Doctor Strange and Magik. It also gives us promise to flesh out the character of Sapna who has great potential.
Extraordinary X-Men’s greatest strength throughout its young history continues to be capturing the characters identities and personalities, along with their interactions with one another. Jeff Lemire again proves his knowledge and passion for not just the X-Men but the entire Marvel Universe. This is evident throughout all of his Marvel titles which also include Old Man Logan and All New Hawkeye. Every Marvel character that Lemire has written for is pin point accurate in capturing their characteristics and this issue is no exception.
Another highlight that is greatly appreciated is how Lemire has given the leadership position to Storm. Ororo Monroe is a passionate, strong, and level headed superheroine and it’s great to see her get some much needed character moments. She did have a recent solo series during the Marvel Now imprint but that is best to be avoided.
Unfortunately with all those strengths this issue, series, and current state of the X-Men franchise does present problems. This story arc, as well as the previous two in the series, deals with far too many rehashed tropes. It’s fine to stay true to the spirit of this beloved franchise but you need to bring something new to it. Lemire does a good job of grabbing our investments in the characters and their relationships but not in the story. It also seems far too early for a X-Men crossover and it would have been better suited had the writers had time to flesh out their own titles. We don’t need to have a crossover every year, let the writers tell their own stories and develop their characters at an appropriate pace. It’s a problem that both Marvel and DC need to address.
Visualizing this frustrating story however is a solid art team. Humberto Ramos and Edgar Delgado are in charge of story A and do a solid job. The opening pages are of a inner monologue with Storm and eventual conversation with Logan. Ramos is able to capture the fretfulness and frustration of Storm and weariness of Logan. I also love the call back costume of Jean Grey and it’s climatic battle with Cerebra is fun as hell.
Meanwhile Victor Ibanez and Sotocolor take on story B. Ibanez’s style is a bit better suited for the tone of this book, however Ramos does a better job in this issue than opposed to previous ones. His work is well detailed and he does deliver another fun yet brief action scene in this issue. A problem though lies in Magik’s face. I think it may be the mouth primarily but it just comes off as…..well off.
Extraordinary X-Men #8 an enjoyable yet frustrating issue. The character interactions, personalities, and relationship dynamics are a lot of fun and pin point X-Men. The artwork is solid with some great conveying of emotion and fun action scenes. However all those uplifting qualities are burdened by a story that is just too familiar for my taste and it may turn some readers off from the franchise for a bit. Fortunately these characters are written in a pleasurable enough way to distract from the negative.
Score: 3 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach