X-Men is one of the most well known and beloved of comic books at Marvel. The series, originally created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, has spoken to many generations and, most notably, was the premiere cartoon during my youth. Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, once said that all you need to do is yell “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” at any given event and a fellow Australian would respond with “Oi, Oi, Oi.” If you were to hum the opening lines of Ron Wasserman’s theme for the ’92-’97 Fox Kids series, a fellow nerd would immediately shout “X-Men!” This is the resounding feeling of excitement and joy that many fans, comic and non-comic readers have shared since Marvel first announced their Secret Wars tie-in series, X-Men ’92. Today (6/24) saw the release of said issue and it’s sure to be one of this week’s best sellers.
I’d like to start out by saying that I have not been reading Marvel’s Secret Wars, Battleworld, and associated titles. I’m vaguely aware of what’s going on within the Marvel Universe with heroes and villains living out their last days before everything is restarted. On the opening page of Secret Wars: X-Men ’92, we learn that the multiverse was destroyed and that Earth-616 and Earth-1610 exist on “a massive, patchwork planet, maintained by the iron will of its god and master, Victor Von Doom.” If this sounds all too much like DC’s two-month long event, Convergence, in many ways it is, just yielding a different outcome. However, while X-Men ’92 does make references to the landscape of Battleword, it’s just subtle enough that it won’t pull new readers out of the story.
Writers Chris Sims and Chad Bowers, two friends who used discuss X-Men at the local comic shop where they worked (Secret Wars Correspondence: X-Men ’92 – marvel.com), open X-Men ’92 in a friendly enough way. We are reintroduced to the 90’s era of X-Men and Marvel, meet the team members, and are dropped right in the middle of a game of laser tag at the New Salem Mall in Westchester. The art by Scott Koblish perfectly captures the 90’s era of X-Men, featuring them appearing the same way they did during the Fox series and Chris Claremont/Jim Lee famed run. It’s bright, colorful, and fun. We go on for a few panels with the X-Men engaging in a team building laser tag activity before having to quickly jump into action as a group of sentinels attack. It’s quite evident that Sims and Bowers are true X-Men fans as the dialogue and staging feels very much like an authentic 90’s story. Once the sentinels attack, we could hear the Wasserman theme playing in our mind, just as it would in the animated series. The first issue goes on to setup the main plot of the X-Men investigating the Clear Mountain Institute, “a haven for wayward mutants with a desire to find a new path in life.” The plot revolves around the whole is there really a place free of those that hate and fear us? and it comes off as a revisiting of the whole Genosha storyline from the comics and first season of the Fox show. That’s not to say that Sims and Bowers plot is contrived in any way, it’s just to take note that for fans of X-Men, once they arrive and meet Cassandra Nova, we know immediately where the story is going.
I’ve never spoken or reviewed the X-Men before, and X-Men ’92 is my first time sitting down with the team from my childhood since re-watching the first season about a year ago. I’ve enjoyed the X-Men, but I’ve always found the comics to be just so disengaging as their stories spanned across time and the universe. The animated series and films were more entertaining towards my tastes (I prefer grounded), yet I’ve always looked for an opportunity to immerse myself in their rich mythology. X-Men ’92 was an entertaining read and one that I will continue with. If anything, the fact that Chris Sims is writing it makes me want to see this succeed more than anything else. He’s a true fan whose been given the opportunity to play with the likes of Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Professor X, Gambit, Cyclops, Jubilee, Beast, and Jean Grey. In lesser hands I’d be worried this could turn into glorified fan-fiction, but in Sims and Bowers’ hands, this is definitely a title you’ll want to pick up.
X-Men ’92 gets four stars and is available now.
X-MEN ’92 #1
Chris Sims & Chad Bowers (w), Scott Koblish (a)
Cover by PEPE LARRAZ
- Everyone’s favorite version of the X-Men from the ’90s is back!
- When Baron Kelly charges the Clear Mountain Project and it’s mysterious new director with “mutant rehabilitation,” it’s up to the X-Men to investigate!
- PLUS: Free Range Sentinels?!?