X-Men: First Class Special #1 is not exactly re-inventing the wheel, but when you’re working with as talented of a creative team as Jeff Parker, Kevin Nowlan, Nick Dragotta, Mike Allred, Colleen Coover and Paul Smith, you really do not have to re-invent the wheel to produce a good comic book.
The first story, “The Museum of Oddities,” is a fun “ghost investigation” story starring the Beast and Iceman, who are investigating a disturbance at, oddly enough, the Museum of Oddities! It is a quick tale, masterfully drawn by, well, a comic master, Kevin Nowlan, who does excellent work, especially with perspectives.
The story is a slight one, but well-written for what it is.
The second story, “The Soul of a Poet,” is a silly tale of a beat poet who has a power that gets away from him when he recites his poetry. The tale is mainly designed to highlight the Silver-Age-y artwork of penciller Nick Dragotta and inker Mike Allred, who work together so splendidly that it would be a crime not to see more of them (which is not to say that Dragotta is not a fine penciller without Allred inking him – from what I have seen from him, he is) together.
Again, here, the story is a slight one, as it is written more to spotlight the artists than anything else, but it is still a fun story.
The third story, “A Girl and Her Dragon,” is probably my favorite of the main stories, as Paul Smith really goes to town on this story, but it is in this one that Parker really shows off his stuff the most, as well. The story opens with a framing sequence of Cyclops telling Kitty Pryde that she is not the first X-Man to have a pet dragon, and proceeds to regale Kitty (and us readers) of the story of how Jean Grey found herself the owner of Diablo’s old creation, the Dragon Man. The story is cute, funny and ultimately heart-warming.
Parker ends it off with a nice moment at the end of the framing sequence, both between Kitty and Scott and Kitty and Lockheed. Good stuff.
And Paul Smith’s art on the story…wow. Just excellent stuff.
The three Colleen Coover one-page bits are great, too. They’re all just humorous one-offs by Parker and Coover, like Magneto using his powers to get the key to the bathroom at a coffee bar. Or, my favorite, the one where the X-Men are studying ducks, to see if the X-Men can learn how anything from ducks (who everyone likes) on how to be liked by the world that hates and fears them. Hilarious.
All together, this is a great package of stories (and it even includes some Official Handbook entries for the team, which bore me to death, but I know a lot of people enjoy) for only a BUCK more than a normal comic book!! This is a good comic book.
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