23 September 2007

X-Men First Class: Tomorrow's Brightest (Marvel, 2007)

As I've stated before, I love Jeff Parker. He writes fun stories. When I see his name in the credits, I can be sure the story between the book's covers will be good, family friendly and fun, fun, fun. Sometimes you just need to get away from all the post-Civil War angst that is currently de riguer at Marvel right now. Sometimes a bitter and cynical comics fan just needs to get away from reading all about the paranoia, the heroes bitch slapping each other and figuring out who the hell else is a shape changing Skrull. What happened to the tried and true tradition of kicking monster and alien butt? We want to read those kind of stories sometimes. Throw in a talking ape as a guest star? Jackpot! That's why I heart Jeff Parker.

X-Men First Class: Tomorrow's Brightest collects the eight issue mini series by Parker with pencils by Roger Cruz. It focuses on the original X-Men lineup of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Angel and Beast back in the days when they were still students at Xavier's School for Gifted Children. It's not set in the early '60s though. As far as I can tell, First Class is pretty much non-canon and if it is, it belongs to a whole different canon than the Marvel Universe. But really, who cares? Why should we care why the X-Men here are still in their teens? They're drinking at a coffee place...this cannot be 1964! Is this an Ultimate book? Or a Marvel Adventures book? Seriously, who cares? If you're the kind of person who insist that all superhero comics must belong to a strict, one-universe continuity, then you probably won't enjoy this book. X-Men First Class is for those of us who just want to sit back and waste our time reading crazy stupid fun stories and to hell with the rest. And this book has eight issues of crazy stupid fun stories.

All the stories here are self contained, done-in-one-issue kinda stuff. The mutants meet up with Dr. Strange, they battle the Lizard in the Florida Everglades, have a slight misunderstanding with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch and meet up with Thor among other adventures.

But my favourite is issue 8 with a special appearance by:

GORILLA MAN! I like him so much I must type his name in bold and in capital letters. He's just that kind of character. Besides, it's a given that a comic will increase in quality when there's a talking ape in it. It's just the way it is. The X-Men seek his help to find Professor X who has gone missing somewhere in the Congo.

X-Men First Class: Tomorrow's Brightest. Good stuff.

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