Extraordinary X-Men Annual #1 ComicWow! Review

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Mutants show signs of superhuman powers and abilities, but are hated, feared, and shunned because of being different. With the fate of their kind hanging by a thread, mutants need heroes who will lead them to a better future; they need the Extraordinary X-Men.

A cloud of Terrigen Mist has been growing and moving. The Terrigen triggers transformation for inhumans. As the mist spreads across the planet, many people who didn’t know about their inhuman DNA are experiencing some changes in their genetic makeup—like Lunella Lafayette (Moon Girl), who is using her genius intellect to try and reverse it.

There is, however, another side effect of the Terrigen Mist. It is fatal to anyone with the mutant X-gene. To maintain a safe distance from it, the X-Men have created X-Haven in the Limbo dimension where the mist cannot reach. However, there are still other mutants on Earth who need to escape the rolling mist.

In this issue, two mutants are stuck in a super-powered prison as the Terrigen Mist is making its way to it. It’s up to the X-Men to create a rescue mission and save their fellow mutants—but prison break isn’t as easy as they had hoped and, although they save the two mutant prisoners, the X-Men leave a trail behind them.

Masters’ writing is very cleverly laid out. For example, the X-Men are busy breaking Ramrod and Ruckus while Storm is buying them time by keeping the “authorities” busy in a meeting. Once the X-Men have their plan together, things move pretty smoothly in terms of the script. The character interaction is ample and drives the story forward. Through this interaction, we can see a lot of characterization.

First and foremost, Storm is characterized as a very selfless person who would do just about anything to save her fellow mutants. It’s questionable that she wasn’t in the mission—but was a distraction instead—but it makes perfect sense, as she is a mutant that’s a little higher up on the totem pole than a lot of the others.

Logan’s characterization is really clearly shown in this issue. He is called in to help break out the prisoners. Although he doesn’t want to, he does. Although he wants a small part in the process, he ends up being the deciding factor in the mission while inside the prison. Once the rescue mission is over, he simply says that he’s going to get drunk. His honesty is blunt and borderline-rude, but very admirable. Although he wants to take the back seat in most X-Men-related problems, he ends up playing a big role in most of them because he’s one of the most important X-Men.

Carlo Barberi’s illustrations have a cartoonish art style that emphasizes each character’s personality. From Storm’s white and blue tinted hair to Logan’s thick and grimy chops, we can clearly see each character’s persona even before they have any dialogue.

In the backstory of this issue, “Forge, We Have a Problem,” Forge and Lunella have to escape the thick cloud of Terrigen Mist that is rolling their way. Even though Forge is skeptical of the rocket that Lunella wants to use to escape, they board it and lift off anyway. The Terrigen Mist is still a threat, but they have escaped death for the time being.

Writer Brandon Montclare creates a sense of urgency in this short story. The script goes by at a steady, fast, and comfortable pace. Forge and Lunella have great chemistry. They’re arguing for most of the story, but we can still sense a mutual respect between them.

The artwork in this story is really atmospheric and rather beautiful. Ian Herring’s colors blend really well together. The deep blues and greens give off an almost ethereal look and serve perfectly as a back drop for this life-saving endeavor.

This is a great issue that showcases the X-Men in all their selfless glory. With a creative team this imaginative, this one-shot was bound to be a success!

Written by: Ollie Masters & Brandon Montclare

Illustrated by: Carlo Barberi & Rosi Kampe

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