The new X-Men event “Age of X-Man” is a crossover where X-Man aka Nate Grey from the alternate Age of Apocalypse future has created a perfect world. However, this utopia is built on a commitment to individualism so everyone lives isolated by themselves, and there are no intimate relationships whether platonic, sexual, or romantic. Overtly, there is no crime or drama in this universe, but Department X featuring Blob, Psylocke, Northstar, Jubilee, Iceman, and Moneta are the covert group that makes sure this status quo is kept. Writer Leah Williams, artists Georges Jeanty and Robert Poggi, and colorist Jim Charalampidis tell their story in Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #1.
Even though Department X are basically the secret police, Williams and Jeanty give X-Tremists #1 a joking tone from the get-go with Iceman roasting Jubilee for thinking a cookie sheet and wax paper are the same thing. (Why is something solid called a sheet though?) They are the class clowns of the team while Moneta is the team racist, Blob is the team dad (Complete with the bod and sayings out of a motivational book for junior high basketball coaches for it.), Northstar is aloof and too cool for school, and Psylocke just gets the job done. Despite Jeanty’s stiff art work, which is more like 1990s Mark Bagley than his work on the Buffy and Serenity comics, each Department X member has a unique personality that acts as a hook for a book about mutants, who arrest other mutants for falling in love.
Plus Georges Jeanty and Roberto Poggi’s work isn’t all bad. They nail a pair of great comedy scenes in X-Tremists #1 where Department X disdainfully completes one of Blob’s team building sayings, and Northstar stays in the car and uses his super speed to get “shotgun” before a try hard and possibly overcompensating for something, Iceman, can ice slide down to it. His and Psylocke’s deadpan expressions are hilarious, and Jim Charalamipdis adds a little burst of old school purple to her psychic daggers.
The fight scene in X-Tremists #1 is creative and well-blocked with Iceman making creative use of his powers to subdue to mutants, who have multiple offenses of engaging in an intimate relationship. One of them has the ability to transform into a rat, which creates a high energy series of panels from Jeanty and Poggi while Leah Williams throws in a wrinkle in her plot that makes the stakes different from Department X’s usual work. It will challenge the team’s ethics, and they have to choose between the mandates of their world and their empathy towards their fellow mutant. I’m interested to see which side each team member takes.
Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #1 introduces a cast of six characters while Leah Williams give each of them a distinct way of speaking and seeing the world and giving the book a moral dilemma of a hook that makes you want to pick up the rest of the miniseries. Georges Jeanty and Roberto Poggi’s facial and character work are nothing to write home about, but they and Jim Charalampidis do lay out a decent fight scene. This, and NextGen #1, are my favorite Age of X-Man tie-ins so far.
Story: Leah Williams Pencils : Georges Jeanty Inks: Roberto Poggi
Colors: Jim Charalampidis Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review