Age of X-Man Alpha #1 // Review
Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler open their 32-issue X-Men mini-series cluster with The Age of X-Men Alpha. As much an intersection as it is an introduction, the title introduces each of the titles that feed-into the mega-mini series which plays out from January through July of 2019. The opening issue lifts the veil on the. project in a concise, cohesive way that feels remarkably organized...not entirely unlike the world in which the series seems to be set. The issue issue drawn by Ramon Rosanas with colors by Triona Farrell.
Action, adventure and such aside, things have never been terribly good for the X-Men. When they’re not dealing with defending a population that fears and hates them, they’re off-planet dealing with alien threats and invasions and time travel and...everything that’s made Marvel mutants so appealing for the past half century or more. What happens when they achieve peace, though? What happens in a world where everyone is perfectly okay with super-powered mutants and everyone is fully integrated? Isn’t there something deeper and more sinister clinging around the edges? The opening issue on the event for the first half of 2019 has a little bit of fun with this premise while launching readers into the latest mutation of Marvel’s mutants.
Thompson and Nadler open the issue with a vision of a happy, little mid-century-looking world of integrated mutants. The X-Men arrive on the scene of a major event only to find a powerful, little girl named Luna who is terrified of the power she holds as she is hiding-out in a museum of mutant history. In addition to likely introducing a major character, the introduction of Luna becomes a nice, little device in showing the fully integrated world of mutants that Thomson and Nadler are developing here. Having done so, the writers proceed to introduce the series that will make-up the Age of X-Man event in a very neat and orderly fashion. How orderly? Each one of the series is introduced in the order in which they will debut between now and March 13th. They do this without making the formatting feel at all. forced or awkward. The scene jumps feel very natural. The flow of action from one scene to the next feels very logical. The pacing is even really appealing. There’s real attention paid to making sure every character is interesting for just the right amount of time. It feels very much like something Claremont might have scripted for the X-Men back in the early ‘80s. Very impressive.
Rosanas’ art delivers remarkably lifelike detail without overcrowding the page with heavy line work. This is particularly charming in the opening of the issue as we see a happy, little mid-20th century-looking mutant world. It’s like Norman Rockwell with mutants. From there, Rosanas shows great versatility. Once the action descends on the narrative, Rosanas does an excellent job with that as well. Panels break apart the action with a bracing sense of motion. Silent, static moments feel oppressively quiet. There’s even a really moving moment of romance that glides across the page at just the right moment in just the right way. There’s a whole universe in here and Roasnas is revealing it one panel at a time.
Farrell is very patient with the colors. Though there is a tremendous amount of detail in the early going, there’s a sense of drabness about it. He beautifully brings across the mundane nature of an everyday world where everyone has some kind of power. Give too much vivid life to all of the fantasy and the page will be excessively cluttered. The drama is given the right emphasis, and only intensifies in the second half of the issu.
This is the opening of a 32-page epic that’ll play out over the course of five months. Anything as huge and overwhelming as that is bound to have some flaws here and there. This opening issue sets a pretty high bar for the rest of the event. If most of the rest of The Age of X-Man can live-up to the quality of this issue, it should be one hell of a journey.