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Review: Extraordinary X-Men #17

extraordinary-x-men-17Extraordinary X-Men Issue #17 is a good example of how a tie-in to an event should be handled. This issue navigated all the gravitas of the X-Men’s impending war with the Inhumans, while taking a down to earth, outsider’s view of the situation. It’s a very refreshing vantage point to take an assessment of the status quo. The issue overall was very emotional, and a much-needed change of pace for this team of X-Men.The Extraordinary X-Men have definitely been served their share of crazy, so it’s very impressive that this issue is successful at moving the meta-plot forward by slowing things down a bit.  At the end of this

The Extraordinary X-Men have definitely been served their share of crazy, so it’s very impressive that this issue is successful at moving the meta-plot forward by slowing things down a bit. At the end of this issue this team of X-Men is wholly galvanized and convinced of their need to fight. All of this without a single punch thrown, or laser beam blasted…. Ok just one emotional lightening strike by Storm but I’ll touch on that in a bit. This issue took me back to the tie-ins from Wolverine and the X-Men during AvX, which reserved some space to explore the moral quandary of the overarching conflict. There isn’t always space to do that in the main title issues, so it was refreshing to see this explored here again to great effect.

What I find interesting and didn’t really notice before recently is how much the X-Men and Inhumans have had a role reversal of sorts. Not too long ago Earth’s atmosphere was poisonous to the Inhumans prompting them to take New Attilan to the Blue Area of the Moon. The X-Men and the entirety of Earth’s mutant population are in a similar predicament here, faced with two bleak options. Destroy the Terrigen cloud or leave the planet. The urgency strikes home for the X-Men once more when a Mutant girl named Maya dies in the X-Men’s care. The majority of the story is told from the perspective of her sister, who has to forcefully interrupt the X-Men to draw their attention.  The moment bears a lot of emotional impact as Maya, a young mutant who has idolized Storm, succumbs to the M-pox disease right after meeting her hero. This is a significant moment for Storm who since the beginning of this series has shown a rare lack of confidence in her leadership, pondering whether she was helping or endangering the mutantkind with her team’s approach to the current crisis. Throughout all the whirlwind drama and threats faced in the past 16 issues we see Storm’s uncertainty come to an end in this issue,  and symbolically it occurs after the dying mutant girl Maya chooses the nickname “Lucid” after Storm’s honorary induction of her into the X-Men. It was a beautiful moment and almost made me tear up. Writing and moments like this have been very rare, it was just beautiful to read.

Another positive with this issue is how neutral it is in its narrative. In many comics or narratives, we’re inclined to view the primary characters as tacit protagonists who are immediately afforded moral superiority. In this issue the exclusivity and prejudice within the X-Men themselves is confronted, As Maya’s sister notes how busy and perhaps standoffish the X-Men are to less pressing (or perhaps forgotten) concerns, she interestingly identifies Jean Grey as the top of the social ladder. There is even a very poignant discussion on what it means to be “hero” between Storm and Old Logan. This seemed to be a direct answer to Brett’s remarks that the X-Men didn’t seem heroic in his review of Inhuman’s vs X-Men #1. It was a moment of candid reflection, and despite the clear moral ambiguity of the X-Men’s dilemma it was very refreshing to see it addressed so honestly. I tend to pay more attention and invest emotionally more in characters when they are written (and read) critically in this way without bias.

Extraordinary X-Men #17 as well as the previous issue do a great job of framing the moral and practical reasoning for why this faction is jumping into the fight against the Inhumans, it was a heartfelt issue that took a tone and style that is quite rare. The art somehow felt very personal as well, There were some shots of Maya that were reminiscent of Frank Quietly’s art which I enjoyed and some vignette’s of Storm’s life that had a very tributary feel to it. Extraordinary X-Men #17 a must read for anyone wanting to take a quick glimpse into the X-Men’s side of the upcoming war from a moral standpoint.

Final Thoughts

Admittedly I am pro-mutant / pro X-men in this conflict however I can’t help but be fair and note that Inhumans may have some moral high ground in this conflict when faced with pollution in years passed they didn’t go to war with humanity over it, they simply left. I’ll be disappointed if this fact does not come up in any future issues of IvX X-Men or Inhumans.

Spoiler: The Inhuman’s were given multiple visions of the future(s) at the conclusion of Civil War #8. Precognition being a tricky yet powerful tool, this makes me wonder if the Inhumans won’t be as taken by surprise by the Mutant offensive as we are led to believe.

Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Eric Koda, Tom Palmer, Morry Hollowell
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy!

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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