Thursday, June 4, 2015

X-Men: First Class by Jeff Parker issue #6

Well, this was another great issue with some surprising amount of heart to it. Much like the previous installment, I think this issue also opens a possibility for another arc in the future. In the fifth issue, we see the cult of Vanir taking keen interest in Bobby Drake's elemental powers, probably in the process of figuring out how to abduct and experiment on him in their next encounter. Meanwhile, this issue presents us with yet another group of villains: the Skrull, and the continued conflict and connection they might have with our heroes as the story of the series progressed. After all, the basic premise of any adventure saga is continuity, more so in a comic book. 

Now, the Skrull are originally Fantastic Four villains, but it's a nice touch to see a faction of them interact with the X-Men. What really sold me for this issue was the character tension among the X-Men and the disguised Skrull operatives who apparently found a way to imitate the Original Core Five's powers so they can wreak havoc in the name of the X-Men. This is distressing news to the youngsters, especially since Professor X has left to attend some personal business (probably to "play chess" with his "old friend", who knows?). They decided to take their matters into their own hands and find a way to clean up after the fiasco these fake X-Men have left in their wake. Furthermore, it looks as if the youngsters themselves have made friends outside of their mutant rag-tag team, whom they have met at a coffee shop. 

It's only too easy to forget that they're college-aged people who probably want to have some other kind of sustained interaction with other members of their peer group after all, and it's great to see Parker finally touch upon that issue. Much like in Young Justice, the Original Core Five for this X-title are superbly trained combat fighters who undergo missions, facing danger and death almost daily. However, in the X-Men's case, there is also the theme of the pursuit of acceptance from society. For the X-Men, it's not only about protecting ordinary folk like us but also to show us that they're to be trusted and welcomed in our lives. That's the vision-mission of Xavier's School for the Gifted after all: integration of mutant kind.

Unfortunately, bigotry is unavoidable because human beings are prone to ignorance and fear and that only produced a cocktail of hatred and discrimination. Since this is the revamp version of the Stan Lee era, we will never get a full-blown race war among mutants and humans akin to the Claremont scale of storytelling (The X-Tinction Agenda and God Loves, Man Kills being the primary examples) but I think this PG-13 series can get away from hinting small moments of such discord. Personally, I wouldn't mind shades of it appearing for X-Men: First Class but I also know this is meant to be a cutesy and entertaining series so those instances of social injustice will probably won't be heavy-handed which is good because I want this series' primary focus to be on the characters' relationships and respective developments as individuals and as a team. I'm clearly very much hooked in every way since I began reading and I would like to see more of the X-Men getting to know themselves better and what roles they could play and evolve from.

And I definitely want to see the return of those five young Skrulls who seem to have some fondness for the Original Core Five at this point seeing as we get this great moment of self-reflection from Warren Worrington who, for quite some time, has been the ditzy blond of the group with a nice car and a pair of wings he uses to escape Professor X's classroom lectures---until now:

So, yes, I LOVE THIS ISSUE much like the previous one. Looking forward to seeing the Skrulls again!


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