Saturday, June 20, 2015

X-Men: First Class II by Jeff Parker Volume 1

This is the first volume of the second season of Jeff Parker's uber-fun and delightfully dynamic teen series X-Men: First Class, and it's quite another lovely turn-out for the heroes I deem the Original Core Five (OCF, trademark still pending). As I've mentioned in my official review of the first volume, the nineties cartoon series were my X-Men growing up, and Stan Lee's sixties fivesome used to be something I don't care for. But thanks to Jeff Parker, my opinion on that matter has entirely changed. I love my OCF to the depths of my soul! 

I just love reading Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman and Angel together, taking on a variety and supervillains, criminals and the usual off-the-kilter monster-of-the-issue, while dealing with the usual problems of fitting in, making connections and embracing the unique things their respective individuality can accomplish. If you're n adult in your twenties like me, or even if you are in your thirties or forties, and you read the first collection of this series AND WERE ABSOLUTELY ENTHRALLED, then you'd be just as in a celebratory mood as I am that the title has continued on with a second season; this time running for a total of sixteen issues.

Comprised of issues #1-5 plus a special, Mutant Mayhem maintains the same balance of fluff, thrill and poignancy as the last one, putting our favorite merry band of crime-fighters in a dangerous island for a two-parter story, Jean Grey having a sisterly bonding moment with Invisible Girl of the Fantastic Four; while Bobby and Henry have a road trip together to get a clean break from all the exhausting vigilantism. It's a great volume that will appeal to the readers who were already established fans to begin with and are more than thoroughly invested to see where the OCF are headed, and hopefully to more wacky adventures and bizarre scenarios that make them grow as friends and as people, and challenge their perspective as well as relationships with one another.

For a PG-13 series with no gore or violence or grim premises and depressing pay-offs, X-Men: First Class still knows how to deliver compelling, remarkable stories by relying on its core strengths which is really about these five lovable dorks and their struggles as mutants and aspiring heroes, and how to balance their lives outside of crime-fighting and the social politics their mentor incorporates them in. It only goes to show that comics could be fun and clean while still having emotional maturity and resonance at the same time.


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