Ed Brubaker got off to a good start in his debut on Uncanny X-Men last week, and Mike Carey follows with a fine beginning issue, as well.
Chris Bachalo (with two different inkers, Tim Townsend and Jaime Mendoza) is in fine form in this issue, as he manages to continue with all of his stylistic aplumb (and he is one of the most stylistic mainstream artists that I can think of) without sacrificing clarity in the least bit. I was very impressed by that, as the artwork in the issue was excellent.
This issue, like Uncanny, is very much a set-up issue, so there are going to be some awkward set-up moments. Unlike Uncanny, this issue wasn't as expositon-heavy, but this issue instead had some awkward "outside writing" moments, as Carey went to set-up his new status quo for the title very quickly.
To wit, Cyclops decision to start a "rapid response team" was a bit eye-roll-inducing, and the way that Rogue added, surprise of surprises, the two characters we already saw with her on the mission in this issue - and certainly not any characters spoken for by other teams! However sketchy the setup of the "rapid response unit" idea was, the idea itself is a good one, and sounds like it will make for a very interesting setup.
The way in which Sabretooth was introduced was magnificent. We first get to see him act tough, but learn that he is in trouble, then later we get to see him think of a way out of trouble while being severely outgunned. Very cool stuff. And his plan (and Carey's plan to get him into the book)? Very clever.
Other nice touches - Rogue using her powers effectively, Rogue acting "Rogue" (I especially liked that), Beast's banter, the awkwardness with Xavier/Cyclops/Emma (tying into this week's Uncanny without overtly doing so), Cannonball's dialogue, the design of the bad guys, the bit with the little girl - all great touches.
Iceman, by the way, looks hideous. A minor problem, but still, a problem. He looks just ridiculously silly.
All in all, though, a fun introduction issue with very nice attention to detail and great art.
I would recommend it without reservation.