“X-Treme X-Men” #7.1 is a jumping on point for the book so I thought I’d test this theory out. I hadn’t tried the book before, barely knew it existed, and certainly didn’t know the premise. The gorgeous cover from Stephanie Hans helps in every way and the title page nearly shut my brain down from awesome. This book is about Dazzler leading a strange multiverse group of X-Men on a quest to kill the ten evil versions of Charles Xavier. How can this book not be amazing?
It appears the answer is through many steps. As a hopping on point, this issue is mostly good. It shows how insane this title is and the tone it confidently pushes forward. This is a book not to be ignored, it would rather be derided than forgotten. The characters of the team aren’t completely rounded as presented here, but it’s difficult to give everyone meaningful screen time. Instead, Greg Pak chooses to focus on Dazzler, the team leader and only person from the regular continuity reality. Readers get to understand and feel for Dazzler in a great way. By the end of this issue, she’s solidified as a great choice to spearhead this title. The scenes around her are easily the best of the issue.
One of the main issues with this title is the absurdity of the story. On their quest, the team come across a “supremely powerful, death-dealing, Brood-possessed Acanti skywhale Xavier.” It’s his head on a massive whale in space. While it feels cool at first, it soon becomes ridiculous and possibly lets everything down. While the intention was clearly to reach for a great conceptual idea, the issue stretches it too far and ends up in a completely different direction.
Unfortunately, this issue serves as a cautionary tale on how bringing two artists into one issue can go wrong. The styles of Andre Araujo and Raul Valdes could not be more different as one is soft and cartoony while the other is sketchy and raw. The transition is shocking and it hurts the character presentation and tone of the story. The colors from Rachelle Rosenberg remain consistent, but can’t stop the jarring clunk of a gear change the story suffers.
“X-Treme X-Men” #7.1 is a pretty cool idea and the sort of X-book someone can read without knowing or following any other X-books. This issue wraps up a neat story in a tidy manner, even if it is a little far out. This is representative of the series, though it also might be what is turning readers off. Dazzler is the center piece and gets a great little emotional arc for this issue. “X-Treme X-Men” #7.1 is not entirely successful, it wanders from the path a little too far, but there is plenty to enjoy. This might be more for your teenage acquaintance than a true Marvel fan, but there’s nothing wrong with that.