By Tom Taylor, Mahmud Asrar, Ive Svorcina, and VC’s Cory Petit
The moment many fans have been waiting for is finally here. Jean Grey is back and she’s leading a team of X-Men again. She’s been gone for about 13 years with a few appearances here and there, but we have to question how she’ll be. Can she slide right back into the land of the living? So much has changed since she’s been gone, Jean is going to have to be strong enough to hold everything together.
Tom Taylor is known for his wonderful work on All-New Wolverine. This is his chance at doing an X-team, and it’s kind of a big deal. Putting together a team that has Jean front and center, as well as other heavy hitters like Nightcrawler and Wolverine seems like a recipe for success. Taylor wastes no time getting into the action and getting a part of the team together. This actually moves a little too fast and feels like half of the book is a montage as Jean and company attempt to rescue newly discovered mutants. Taylor devotes the second half of the book to the life and rights of being a mutant. Jean speaks in front of the United Nations arguing that Mutants shouldn’t need to be heroes to be accepted. Taylor crafts a good argument for Jean, and it’s one that ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. As far as debut issues go, X-Men Red was pretty good. It moved little too quick in the beginning, but is laying the ground work for what should be a good series.
The pencils this issue were handled by Mahmud Asrar with colors by Ive Svorcina. Asrar’s work is where we run into some problems in the issue. Asrar takes a minimalist approach to his work, which is fine, but it’s very telling in some panels. As Nightcrawler “Bamfs” away from an angry mob, faces are unrecognizable. Asrar also has issues with the shape of body parts at times, especially heads. A panel where two newscasters are discussing mutants shows the male anchor to have an odd shaped head in several different panels. Asrar’s costume design for the team members in the issue are very cool and look modern. Ive Svorcina’s colors are fine this issue and there aren’t many problems with them at all. A light color palette is used, and even the red in Jean’s hair isn’t too extreme. There is a nice contrast between Jean’s red hair and the blue in her uniform. It’s a hot and cold color blending together very nicely.
X-Men Red is off to a decent start and feels like a back to the basics book for the X-Men. Tom Taylor should have gained trust among the fandom with his strong work on other series, but if he hasn’t, this title is worth a read. The art is where the issue falters a little bit. Asrar has a unique style that some love and some don’t. It comes off all right here, but he needs to devote more time to bodies. This isn’t a debut issue that will blow you away, but it should make you content.