I’m sure the rebooted X-Men, now on it’s 19th issue, will fall victim to the sanctimonious and boring fallout from Schism. For now, it continues to be a great vehicle allowing X-Men stories to be told that are just fun to read. No epic story arcs, no dueling idealists, no crazy kids with margaritas and psychopathic tendencies, just the X-Men doing what heroes do and this time bringing along the new FF for support. Not only do we get two awesome teams in X-Men #19, but we also get an inter-dimensional jungle world filled with dueling aliens and prehistoric creatures. It’s a win all around.
The story is simple. The FF discovered a beacon from this other world with a distress signal from Lee Forrester and former soldier Mike Scully. As Forrester is a former girlfriend of Cyclops, the FF brings in the X-Men. Once the two groups arrive in the new world, their way back fails, they get captured and it seems as though FF member Doctor Doom has betrayed them. It’s a lot to wrap up in one issue, but writer Victor Gischler manages it without allowing the issue to feel rushed. He also nails the dialog for every character involved, no small feat since the issue involves ten or more separate voices.
X-Men #19 is filled with all the stuff that makes comic books great. The turnaround of the betrayal from Doom is classic comic book work, as is the wonderfully written exchange between Doom and Magneto, two super villains playing the hero role. Gischler keeps all of his storylines interesting in their own right through dialog. The exchanges between Reed Richards and Nemesis, Wolverine playing off of The Thing, the dynamic between Cyclops and a jealous Emma Frost, it all clicks perfectly. When the three storylines merge into a final battle, it’s the kind of fun that comics used to be good at before the cancer of event series began its slow decay.
Jorge Molina’s artwork is the final touch for X-Men #19. Like the writing, the art has a great sense of old comic book style without succumbing to nostalgia. Molina focuses more on the characters than the surrounding areas in the panel. The backgrounds are pretty, but only there to support the foreground action. That style, much like older comic work, gives much more power to the action. Tying all of that together is Molina’s care with each character. He pencils each of them as they should be penciled, perfectly combining detail and shading.
The only misstep is Reed Richards face, Molina can never get the nose to look right. Some feminists might take issue with Lee Forrester’s generous chest and how it’s the center of almost every scene she’s in. Personally I didn’t mind, but I did notice. With all the new turnaround happening in the X-Men world, I doubt solid and exciting but smaller stories like these will find a home amongst the bigger themes. That’s a shame, because these are the types stories that make comic books fun to read.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 9/10