REVIEW: Age of X Universe #1

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I was looking forward to this book, but my level of enjoyment still took me by surprise. Writer Simon Spurrier did some great X-Men work recently on the Smoke and Blood one-shot during the Curse of the Mutants vampire event. That issue featured the X-Men’s science team (the X-Club) and as I really enjoy those characters I was predisposed to enjoying the story. It’s great to see Spurrier in this case taking more recognizable characters from the Marvel Universe that I’m not nearly as invested in and making me care about their plight. Seeing the Avengers as government sanctioned mutant hunter/killers is provocative on its own, but the twisted nature of the Age of X helps. It isn’t as simple as the characters we know being given a gruesome mission, in this case the characters entire histories are gruesome tales. The creative freedom to make these changes that Spurrier mentions in his comments at the end of the issue makes for a great read. I’ve actually grown to really enjoy those commentaries as they give a nice insight into both the creators and the book they’re working on.

Khoi Pham, Tom Palmer and Sonia Oback provide some great artwork for the main story. The framing sequences with Rogue are moody and the pages between feature are some great moments introducing us to these twisted Avengers. A number of mutant guest stars meet their grisly demise and it’s just fun to see some of these characters. Although it does almost seem like a thinly veiled joke given who shows up at times.

The bonus Spider-Man story was a nice treat, yet very tragic. Jim McCann, Paul Davidson, and Antonio Fabela put together a great 8-page story telling us what happened to Peter Parker in the Age of X. That too seems like a bit of an inside joke on Marvel’s part as we see Peter married to Mary Jane and expecting a baby girl before he’s taken into custody for being a meta human.

Age of X Universe #1 raises a lot of questions about the nature of this world. In the main Age of X series, we’ve been focused on the last 1,000 days since Magneto constructed Fortress X from the buildings of the New York skyline. This book provides more details about the world before that event in the same way the Alpha issue did. I had come to think that the Age of X was the result of altered memories and warped revisions of the mutants in the Marvel Universe, but this suggests things go much deeper.

Read more about this series at our Age of X hub.

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