“X-Men Season One” is the sort of product that comes along and really makes a difference. This book is easy to understand, fun to read and still pretty wide in scope. The art from Jamie McKelvie is as phenomenal as you have hoped, imagined or heard and the story from Dennis Hopeless easily keeps pace with it all. This is the origin of the X-Men with a perfect buy in point for anyone.
Every character in this book is unique. Hopeless does a great job of crafting individual voices and traits. McKelvie then ensures the visuals for each character are also distinct and eye catching. Hank McCoy has never looked so handsome, Bobby Drake is so insanely cute and Jean Grey is quite possibly the most gorgeous she has ever been. The individual cast members are extremely enjoyable in their own separate ways while also staying small and manageable, working in the book’s favor. The X-Men have long had a problem with roster bloating. By going back to the original cast and keeping it low, this book becomes a tale giving everyone the space they deserve. There is at least one specific reason why you should love each of these characters. However, it is interesting that less attention is paid to Professor X or any of the villains.
By having the original five at the centre of this tale, “X-Men Season One” becomes a teenage soap opera. This is a good thing. The “X-Men” titles have long dominated the superheroic soap opera demographic and here it is done with just the right balance between pining teens, fighting friends and actual superhero action. You will care about who kissed whom but you’ll also love the dinosaur deliverance, the zombie-Nazi hoards and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutant scraps. These things are so often tied together, proving how well crafted and constructed this book is. For all the drama and telekinetic fighting, this book is light and completely accessible.
There is an amazing sequence early on where Warren Worthington transforms through a few stages indicative of mutants. The first starting panel is just looking at his usual hot blonde self. This is the hidden mutant around us all. He then starts donning the X-Outfit and for one panel — as he puts the hood on, he looks like a common criminal: trenchcoat, obscured face. This is the mutant falsely seen as a threat. Then, the next panel, he has his shirt off and suddenly the X-Man comes to life. It might be because the jacket/mask combo of common thuggery is gone or it might be his Adonis’ body, but suddenly this man looks like a symbol of perfection. As Angel with his chiseled muscles, Worthington suddenly represents the spectacle encompassing the lure of the X-Men.
Hopeless writes dialogue very reminiscent of Kieron Gillen. It pops around and yet still finds time for human pauses. He proves here he is worth every ounce of praise constantly heaped on him. Hopeless makes a bunch of people who aren’t very relatable and turns each of them into superstars through these pages. Jean Gray has never been so amazing and it would be worth a Season Two on this book just to get more of her and see what happens next. “X-Men: Season One’s” biggest flaw is it simply stops rather than tying a third act into any form of conclusion.
The entire “Season One” initiative from Marvel is a bold move and if more of the books can be close to the quality of this one then they’ll be golden. “X-Men Season One” sets a clear success line of being current, beautiful, crafted with complexity, easy to access for all readers and completely amazing. If all books could meet this level, we’d have a prosperous community growing exponentially. There is every reason to go buy this book; have at it and enjoy yourself.