X-Men ‘92 was one of the hidden gems of Marvel’s Secret Wars event tie-in comics. The creative team for the series, including Chris Sims and Chad Bowers, had a concept so novel that they didn’t have to compete with some of the other offerings in the direct market. In fact, Marvel liked the creators ongoing series so much that they made it an ongoing title as part of their All-New, All-Different Marvel relaunch!
This series is loosely based on the cartoon from the ‘90s, but the comic is improved by some of the additional flourishes and continuity shifts that Bowers and Sims added to the story during their Secret Wars miniseries. Take a look at one of the wildest X-Titles in the Marvel Universe in this week’s Marvel Rundown.
X-Men ‘92 #1
Writers: Chad Bowers and Chris Sims Artist: Alti Firmansyah
The biggest difference between X-Men ’92‘s Secret Wars mini and its present incartion is the addition of Alti Firmansyah on pencils. I was already impressed with Firmansyah’s work on the Star-Lord and Kitty Pride Secret Wars tie-in, but this comic proves that his pencils have a certain utility that can be applied to make characters look comedic yet cool simultaneously. “Dynamic” is a great word for his art, as fans are given just the slightest tease at what an extremely ‘roided-out ‘92 villain would have looked like had Firmansyah actually drawn this book in the 1990s. It’s great fun and very vibrant. However, while Firmansyah’s art has a great sense of rhythm, I had some issues with his anatomical work. I was disappointed to see the artist imbue famous female X-Men with exaggerated breasts and huge legs, falling into the tropes this series, at times, works to subvert.
In the comic, Sims and Bowers use the X-Characters to tell a fun and simple madcap storyline. Actual schooling hasn’t been a big part of the X-books since Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men, but the writers heavily lean on the academy, playing on the setting for comedic effect. Sims and Bowers often jump from scene to scene with minimal regard for what came before, and while the lack of transition can feel jarring, it ultimately produces a frenetic energy that effortlessly pulls the reading through the issue.
While X-Men ’92 is as fun as an ongoing as it was as a miniseries, I feel like the series has lost some of its original nuance. The Secret Wars mini seemed like it had something specific to say when it revived this beloved take on the X-Men, while this new #1 feels a bit more like hollow fun. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but there is such thing as too much of a good thing and X-Men ’92 may start to wear on its audience if the creative team doesn’t find a new message to convey.
While this isn’t a bad start for Bowers, Sims or Firmansyah — I can’t help but hope that Marvel is going to push this series further into the unknown, places that these characters have never been pushed towards in the Marvel Universe. With the writers of this issue already blending concepts from the traditional X-Universe and creating new villains, maybe readers are only a few issues away from some groundbreaking material. I know I’m waiting with bated breath.
Verdict: I’m going to take a look at the second issue and report back, but if you’re on the fence and you like these characters my gut says to wait for the trade.
With Marvel publishing well over 60 comics, each of these stories really has to make an impression on the reader right from the start in order to have any possible chance of making it in this crowded market place. Speaking of a crowded marketplace, next week is huge for the publisher, as Marvel is launching Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1, the (small-scale) event, Spider-Woman: Alpha and…that’s it right? Right? NO! Black Panther #1 ships next week– will it live up to the hype? Stay tuned for next week’s installment.