For the first time in over 30 years, the X-Men headline an Original Graphic Novel. I was thrilled with the announcement of a brand new X-Men OGN set in current continuity. As X-Men are probably one of my favorite super groups, and Mike Carey had already had a stellar run on an X-Men title, I was down for this. Add to it having one of my favorite current artists, Salvador Larocca, on pencils sold me even further.
Released in 2014, this story opens with a pretty simple premise. One day the X-Men wake up and every single human on the planet is gone. Only mutants are left alive. They must work together despite their ideological divide to determine what happened. The villain of the story, Raze (who is the son of Wolverine and Mystique from the future – a classic X-Men trope right there), has finally solved the human-mutant crisis that has long plagued world – just get rid of the human oppressors. Another wrinkle thrown at the X-Men is that now mutant refugees from alternate timelines/dimensions are all arriving seeking a promised sanctuary away from their human oppressors. This story takes place during the Schism in the X-world where Cyclops has taken a hard stance that any mutant, child or otherwise, is a soldier and must prepare for war. While Wolverine has founded the Jean Grey School, and wants his students to learn how to control their powers so they can integrate with society.
With Cyclops and his group on one side, and Wolverine and his group at the school on another, they must work together to defeat Raze and his Brotherhood of Mutants gathered from across the dimensions. Magneto, up until this point was on the X-Men’s side, but applauds Raze’s efforts to unite mutantkind – he just wishes he was leading it. Cyclops and Wolverine put their differences aside so that they can save the mutant refugees, determine how to stop Raze, and restore the lost humans to the planet.
Mike Carey wrote the book and Salvador Larroca penciled it and they are a great team. Mike is a master with these characters, and you can tell he has affection for them. Larroca is the best he’s been in years juggling a gigantic cast and creating new characters. Still, the detail and attention is incredible. It’s a shame that Marvel hasn’t had any more oversized graphic novels starring the X-Men – this is a welcomed treat.
Back to the story, the X-Men utilize their expansive roster effectively so that they can track down the only person who can possible save the day – a reanimated corpse! Now isn’t that something! We’re lucky they didn’t start a mutant zombie apocalypse – unintended consequences and all!
At the end of the day, the X-Men save the world and even though it’s a little deus ex machina we are treated to a visit from X-Men lore, so I can forgive that. Mike Carey crafts a fun and interesting story that intersects with the current continuity, but allows the characters to explore the philosophical question of what would you do if all the oppressors just disappeared. The X-Men unite and save a world that fears and hates them and that’s what we expect from the mutant heroes.