This week's X-Men #1 is the first Adjective-less X-Men #1 in 20 years. Not since Chris Claremont & Jim Lee teamed to launch one of the highest printed #1's in the history of comics has there been an "X-Men #1" ... is that a big deal? I'm not entirely sure. This launch certainly does not carry the name recognition that the last "X-Men #1" did but that doesn't mean that it isn't good. Probably best known for his crime novels Victor Gischler turns in an interesting story about terrorist cell vampires and their desire to spread the disease of vampirism. Artist Paco Medina, perhaps most widely known for his work on the debut story arc of the current Deadpool ongoing series, churns out some really fun artwork that at times saunters up to really great but most of the time stays in the realm of solidly good. The story is the next in a long line of big X-Men status changing events/banners. The strangest part about the event though is that it doesn't seem to bear any connection to the event that just ended. I'm not bashing on the story that just finished, X-Men: Second Coming, or on this new "Curse of the Mutants" banner but it just seems like a bit of a disconnect.
The story itself drew me in and I felt like it will be the kind of story that I'd like to check in on the second issue for but at the same time there is this nagging voice in the back of my mind saying, "Wasn't the Dracula story that Paul Cornell was telling in Captain Britain & MI:13 awesome! Why did that series get cancelled?" in addition to the perhaps worrisome idea that Marvel is just trying to cash in a little bit on the recent bump in popularity that Vampires have been experiencing (there was a really interesting discussion that when Republicans are in the White House that Zombies become more popular and that when Democrats are in the White House that Vampires receive the same kind of popularity bump but that whole conversation is better saved for another time). Like I said, Gischler's tale is an interesting one and it has a different kind of take on Vampires than I've seen recently but at the same time plastering "X-Men Vs Vampires" all over everything just sort of sits funny with me.
I guess it wouldn't be so bad had I not seen the announcement on Newsarama that Marvel is going to be doing "Vampire Variant Covers" this October.
On the other front in the pages of Uncanny X-Men we've got Matt Fraction continuing on with the threads laid down by Second Coming. "Five Lights" will kick off in Uncanny #526 and will introduce new characters as well as be penciled by Whilce Portacio who was an X-Men of similar popularity to Jim Lee back when the last X-Men #1 came out.
Perhaps this isn't a coincidence.
Perhaps it's time to look back at the 90's and think more fondly about the kind of expansionist "Everyone must read comics!" kind of mentality that was ever so prevalent back then. We're trying to get comics in front of more eyes with digital comics (like them or not) and we've got a brand new X-Men #1 ... with 8 covers ...
And strange as it might sound, it might not even be a bad thing. Only time can tell.