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Review: The Secret X-Men #1

The Secret X-Men #1

The recent run of the X-Men has been a bit hit and miss for me. What has been good, has been really good. But, there’s a lot that just hasn’t felt like it fits the basic building blocks of the characters and teams. The Secret X-Men #1 is interesting as it’s a bit of a throwback to the cosmic times of the X-Men when they hung out with the Shi’ar and rocked matching uniforms. Despite that bit of nostalgia, the comic also doesn’t quite work.

Written by Tini Howard, The Secret X-Men #1 sees the X-Men not chosen for the team during the recent vote band together to find Empress Xandra whose life is threatened. Deathbird, having been tipped off by precognitives sees a threat coming for the Empress and has thus hidden her in a location and has tasked Sunspot with gathering a team to meet Deathbird and Xandra at that location. The journey is “difficult by design” to test this X-Men team for… something. That’s where the comic kind of falls apart.

What Deathbird and Xandra are thinking is explained at the end of the issue but it all seems to be a rather convoluted adventure. The point of it all is rather odd and, well, pointless. It’s a journey for sake of a journey, leaving to go somewhere without an endpoint in mind. There’s some action but overall it’s the interactions of this X-Men team that’s the draw.

Howard does a solid job of the team aspect. This is a group of misfits, the B-team, and together they’re kind of like that as well. They get the job done but it’s a bit sloppy and not the most efficient way to go about things. There’s some other bits about who can trust who, but overall the comic feels like a b-side plot that couldn’t be fit in anywhere else.

The art by Francesco Mobili is ok. The characters look good and the costume designs feel like a nice homage to the past. Jesus Arbutov‘s colors, Clayton Cowles‘ lettering, and Tom Muller‘s design is all good as well. It looks decent though some of the characters feel a little inconsistent at times in their looks. There’s definitely at least one inspired moment/look with Marrow that I hope we see more of. But, overall, the art is good but doesn’t jump out.

The Secret X-Men #1 isn’t a bad comic but it feels like a one-shot whose entire point is to kick off and tease some story down the road. It doesn’t really stand on its own as a memorable experience. It honestly feels like a plot point that needed to be told but couldn’t fit in with any other comic for a few pages. It’s a one-shot that right now feels like a bit of a headscratcher as to the point of it all.

Story: Tini Howard Art: Francesco Mobili
Color: Jesus Arbutov Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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