X-Men: Red #1 Review: Big Ideas and Hope for the Future

A mutant is hunted by bigots and saved by Jean Grey and her new team of X-Men. After this, we are taken back months prior to a baby manifesting a superpowered scream that attracts Wolverine, Honey Badger, and Jean Grey to the scene.

After this, Jean Grey decides to do something dramatic: she wants to speak on behalf of mutants at the UN, and she recruits the support of Wakanda, Atlantis, and her old friend, Nightcrawler.

Of course, plans do tend to fall apart.

X-Men: Red #1 variant cover by Mahmud Asrar and Ive Svorcina
X-Men: Red #1 variant cover by Mahmud Asrar and Ive Svorcina

My Editor-in-Chief, Rich Johnston, landed an advanced review of this book, so I do recommend you check out is review for X-Men: Red #1 as well.

Like Rich said, this comic really comes off as more of a "back-to-basics" X-Men title than its peers. It's based around a few characters and a straightforward idea: make mutants more accepted. The scope is large, but the focus is not. There are a few leads, and the plot is mutant-relevant. Jean is the primary focus, and she will be the driving force of the comic.

Charles Soule's Astonishing X-Men seemed to be doing this too until its opening plot collapsed in on itself while showing no sign of ending anytime soon. My hope is that X-Men: Red will not be doing the same.

The attempts to keep this book focused and character-driven will either make or break it. There are some exterior plot details that details that appear looked-over in this first issue like why is Namor even getting involved with the X-Men again. That being said, wanting to tell a precise X-Men story cannot be praised enough when considering this book's X-peers of the moment. Kicking things off with a tight first issue to boot is a great way to get things started.

We don't yet learn how Gentle and Trinary get involved, though the core of the team is still established.

X-Men: Red #1 art by Mahmud Asrar and Ive Svorcina
X-Men: Red #1 art by Mahmud Asrar and Ive Svorcina

Rich is way better at talking about the art than me, but I will try to get my points across without simply parroting him. Mahmud Asrar does present a style that is a nice balance of grit and cartoon-styling. Some faces and figures, especially action-poses of Jean herself, do look slightly jagged, though these panels are thankfully few. I also dig the costume redesign for Jean, Namor, and Wolverine, and the action sequences are quite dazzling. Ive Svorcina's color art is very well-balanced and throws some extreme brights and darks here and there to give the comic some extra gleam.

X-Men: Red #1 is a great opening salvo and has me thankfully excited for an X-Men book again. Taylor, Asrar, and Svorcina give the reader a tight and focused tale, and hopefully the book will be able to maintain these positive qualities. This one gets a recommendation. Give it a read.

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Joshua DavisonAbout Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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