I have refrained from commenting on Chris Claremonts return to the X-Men with the X-Men Forever series until we are a few issues in. Issued bi-weekly, the three months that have passed have given me ample time to comment.
Something about it seems off.
Although there are a number of ideas I like contained within, what little characterisation I see seems forced and two-dimensional. These are not the same X-Men who went up to Asteroid M. The tension between Jean Grey and Scott Summers has the emotional depth of a Dalek going shopping. Sabretooth is suddenly not a homicidal maniac after years of trying to kill the X-Men, and Shadowcat somehow through a deus ex machina develops one of Wolverine’s claws? Now, if Belasco or some other mage was involved, I could accept that, but as it is? Well I’ll let the title speak for itself.
“Kitty, in a moment when her powers were combined with Jean’s, Cortez’s and while phasing through Logan – has accidentally absorbed one of Wolverine’s adamantium claws.”
Still the title has some good points. I really like the idea of the adult Storm being an impostor, and that there is still a child version of Ororo wandering around, and her amazement at the antics in the X-Mansion seems to fit.
But the last two issues contain the revelation that being a mutant puts strain on the body and all mutants tend to die young. Ignoring such contradictions as Wolverine himself, or the recently late Magneto, one would think that this revelation would have been discovered earlier. You know, the High Evolutionary might have noticed, or Hank Pym? Or even the Beast himself?
The instant distrust and betrayal the X-Men feel seems also very out of character. Where is the hand-wringing? The emotional confrontations between Xavier and his students? The pathos? In the events leading up to the Asteroid M incident, I remember the X-Men all being very close to the Professor, pleased by his recent return. The relationships contained a depth that seems to be absent here. I wonder if Storm was the only X-Man who has been replaced.
The whole series so far seems like a bad What If? Still, it holds some form of car crash fascination, and I will continue to follow this series. Maybe however, I now see what all of those Claremont critics were talking about, all those years ago. I hope he will find his stride again, but six issues in, I would have hoped that would already have occurred.