By Jeff Lemire, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba and Edgar Delgado
It’s no secret that Apocalypse is making his big screen debut in a couple of months, and of course Marvel needs to cash in on that. Enter Apocalypse Wars, an event marking the return of the fan favorite character that crosses over between all the main X-titles. Kicking all of this off is Extraordinary X-Men #8. This is a series that has come under a lot of criticism, deservedly so, but has an opportunity to right the ship with a strong showing in these upcoming issues.
There are some good things about this issue, but there are also some groan-worthy moments. One thing Jeff Lemire has done well in his run on this book is show the growing pains Storm feels being the leader of the X-Men. Being a leader is never easy, especially when you’re species is going extinct for what feels like the fiftieth time, but Storm stepped up to the plate and is trying to make the re-think their hatred of mutant kind. This issue Lemire shows us the wear it takes on Storm as she wonders why she doesn’t feel fulfilled after everything she’s done. This is the Storm that we love to see, a complex character that cares too much. Another good thing about this issue is that Lemire allows some of the younger mutants to finally get some action. Anole, Glob and Martha all tag along with Colossus as he tracks down some new mutant signatures popping up. These characters get more panel time in this issue then they’ve had in the past couple of years. Now, there were some missteps in this issue as well. For the umpteenth time, Cyclops’ death is brought up. This happens every two issues and it only gets more and more frustrating not knowing what has happened. Aside from that, these time-travel stories where the future is in bad shape and the X-Men have to fight Apocalypse or other characters continue to be an annoying re-hash. There is also some questionable dialogue, and the last page of the issue, where a new horseman says “To me, my horsemen” is downright cringe inducing.
The pencils this issue are handled by Humberto Ramos with colors by Edgar Delgado. Humberto Ramos’ style is over the top and exaggerated. His work can often times resemble something one might find in Manga. This issue starts out pretty strong art wise though, with Ramos doing some of his best work in close-up shots. We get some close panels of Storm thinking and Logan coming in to cheer her up. After that, things get a little messier. The further away a character gets, the less detail they receive, but with Ramos, medium panels lack detail, and that’s concerning. At times the artworks seems a bit too cartoony and that takes away from the serious subject matter of the series. Ramos does have a neat panel where the characters travel to the future and everyone gets distorted and twisted. Ramos shine in these panels, they’re unorthodox, but they certainly fit his style. The colors by Edgar Delgado are decent, but at times can be a bit muddy. Sometimes panels are too dark and colors appear to run together making it hard to focus.
Extraordinary X-Men still has a long way to go before it can dig out from mediocrity. This series has been slow and for the most part uninteresting. We keep waiting for Jeff Lemire to deliver a great issue and we’ve already waited too long. The pencils are serviceable at times, but nothing spectacular. This is still the least impressive X-book on the shelves.