‘Uncanny X-Men: First Class Giant-Size Special’ #1 Review: History Lessons

Hey, everyone… Here is my third review for the week.  This is the last definite review and it is the first taste of ‘Uncanny X-Men First Class’. Hope you enjoy.

Uncanny X-Men: First Class Giant-Size Special #1 cover Uncanny X-Men: First Class Giant-Size Special #1
(preview | thread)
Writers: Jeff Parker, Scott Gray & Roger Langridge
Pencilers: Craig Rousseau, David Williams, Dennis Calero, Sean Galloway, Joe Infurnari. Cameron Stewart & Jeff Parker
Inkers: Craig Rousseau, John Beatty, Dennis Calero, Sean Galloway, Joe Infurnari. Cameron Stewart & Jeff Parker

SPOILERS BELOW…

RECAP: The issue opens with Scott examining a piece of something and lamenting to Moira about the state of the new team. He recalls an earlier episode in the Danger Room where Wolverine, Kurt and Banshee were having fun destroying fruit. Then he found Colossus trying to farm the land and Storm causing random rain showers.

In desperation, Scott hunts for a different mutant and finds either one or many in Georgia. The team goes down there and finds a mutant spore culture. Scott wants to communicate but the team is more interested in destroying it. After a pitched battle, the smoking earth policy leaves only one small piece left. The substance Scott was trying to analyze.

Before he can despair too much, Moira decides to play tapes of each of the X-Men relating a tale of their past. Storm is first and she tells about her first solo job as a thief called Snow-top. She had to break into a heavily guarded museum and steal a box. Despite security and a rain of snakes, she is successful and proudly presents her teacher with the box. He opens it to show a picture of her family and her true name of Ororo. Although she denies them at the time she comes to realize how important her family is and treasure the picture.

Next up is Sean who relates in song and prose a tale of his encounter with three trolls. They have taken a beautiful woman and he uses his powers as Banshee to take them down. But while he is talking to the girl one of the trolls recovers and hits him on the head. All three retreat to the fairy realms. Sean follows and has to face all sorts of fell creatures to save the girl. The trolls are the last to fall and he brings the woman out of the fairy world back to the real one. But then he discovers that she is fae herself, a banshee that the trolls wanted to sing for them. The pair parts knowing they can not be together, but the banshee promises to come for Sean when it is finally his time to pass on. Though sad he finds comfort from knowing he will not die alone.

Third is Nightcrawler remembering his first day in the circus as a main attraction. His act is great and very well received though of course every assumes he is wearing a mask. As the act ends, a group of robbers enter trying to steal from the patrons. Nightcrawler heroically attacks them spurring the rest of the circus into action. One of the thieves tries to flee and Kurt follows. He stops the man who finds out to his horror that Nightcrawler is not wearing a mask. Kurt learns that in order to be in the public eye he must forever pretend to be something he is not.

Fourth is Colossus who recalls a a trip with three friends, Sergei, Viktor and Khristina. The head out for relief from the daily toils and to hopefully cheer Piotr up after the death of his brother. They visit an old mine where Sergei, showing off, falls into a tunnel. Badly hurt he cannot climb out so the others go in after him. Once down there the whole thing starts to collapse. Piotr armors up and is able to support the ceiling and eventually tunnel them out of there. Once they are safe, his friends embrace his power rather then be afraid of him. He vows to protect the world and make them proud.

Lastly Wolverine tells a tall tale of his origin as being bitten by a radioactive wolverine, trying a bunch of jobs before becoming an agent of S.N.I.K.T. He relates a bunch of farcical missions especially one in particular against his arch-enemies in B.I.M.B.O. They are trying to use the Professor’s mental power to wipe out ugly people. Wolverine saves the Professor by exposing the girls to wrinkle-causing sunlight. Xavier begs Logan to join his team and Wolverine agrees mostly after seeing Jean.

Back to the main story Scott discovers that the spore colony would have overrun three states in a week. He admits that their instincts were good and it is a positive sign for the team. The issue ends with the X-Men doing a more serious workout in the Danger Room together.

MY TAKE: Since this is, in essence, six mini stories each with different writers and artists I am going to take a moment and touch on each one. The encapsulating story was one of the weaker ones. While the First Class books have always tried to bring a sense of whimsy and fun to the comics, this one went too far into silliness. The characterizations felt way off base and there were too many continuity problems to count. The plot was simple but not bad. It felt like a standard First Class story but I do not feel that Jeff Parker has a grasp on the new characters yet. Hopefully that will change once we get into the main series.

The Storm story was one of the strongest parts. It managed to capture both her carefree thief persona as well as show her emotions and loss for her family. The plot is very simplistic and we have seen her as a child robber before, but it is still fun and her inner dialogue reads very well.

The Banshee segment was my personal favorite. The lyrical writing style is not one I normally like but it worked perfectly here to capture the plot and the emotions without making them too heavy handed. The story was a simple boy saves girl and loses girl plot but it spoke well to Sean’s personality. I particularly liked that it gave him a good reason for his code name.

Kurt’s tale was pretty good if a bit cliched. It was nice to see him enjoying the spotlight and performing under the big top but having it be robbed is a bit too simplistic. Still it showed both his courage and skills and I enjoyed his realization that he would be judged by his appearance for the rest of his life.

The story featuring Colossus was one of the weaker histories to me. I did not see the need to introduce three new best friends that we had not seen before and likely will not hear about again. The tale itself echoed Piotr’s’ first appearance with his armored form saving the day. Yet it was nice to see him being easily accepted and I personally enjoyed the acknowledgment of his grief over his brother’s apparent death.

Logan’s piece was simply too absurd to really fit in the book. While there were some amusing parts, the tone was just not right. Plus it bothered me that he would even bother making up such a tale in the first place. While I would buy a Wolverine agent of S.N.I.K.T. comic it just felt out of place here.

Overall there was enough good in here to give me hope on the series but it still does not have quite the same feel as the other First Class tales. I hope that the character problems are worked out and they have a more accurate voice  as adults in the rest of the series.

Thanks for reading my review for Wolverine Files. I will be keeping to this format for the most part but please keep the comments coming and I will see everyone again tomorrow.

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