Jean Grey is alive.
How isn’t precisely important beyond the fact that it’s been quite a while since she’s drawn breath. Since that time, the world has changed in ways that Jean can’t even begin to grasp.
One thing remains the same, however – the public still hates and fears mutants, yet requires their protection. Not just from those mutants who would abuse their powers but from all the other evils of the world.
One other thing hasn’t changed, despite her husband and her mentor both being dead – Jean Grey is not alone. With the help of her friends, a few long-term allies and the greatest minds in the world, Jean has conceived of a plan that will help her make the world a better place for humans, mutants and everyone else.
Unfortunately, change may be the one thing humanity fears even more than mutants. And Jean’s big plans for building a better future do not change the fact that The X-Men are still needed to protect mutants from humanity. And vice versa.
X-Men: Red #1 is a refreshing anomaly – an X-Men title free of heavy continuity concerns, that new readers can pick up and enjoy with no issues. Indeed, new readers may find more enjoyment in this series than casual X-Fans, who may be left scrambling to figure out how Jean Grey is alive, why Wolverine is now a woman and who the heck is Honey Badger?
Tom Taylor’s script introduces readers to all the information they need to know, though those familiar with his work on All-New Wolverine will be on slightly firmer footing regarding Jean’s teammates in the book’s action-packed opening sequence. The majority of the book, however, is focused on Jean’s character and introducing her to the readers through a series of sequences that establish her personality. This proves a wise move, as many comics fans largely remember Jean as “that woman who shouted ‘Scott!’ and passed out all the time” in the 90’s X-Men animated series.
The artwork by Mahmud A. Asrar is largely excellent, despite a few minor quirks here and there. There are some slight issues with perspective in some panels and a few oddities with the character designs. For instance, there is one page in the opening sequence where the mother of the mutant girl being chased by a lynch mob loses her age lines for one panel, as she starts shooting at her own daughter. These moments are few and far between, thankfully, and do not distract from one’s enjoyment of the issue. The color art by Ive Svorcina is skillfully applied and the lettering by VC’s Cory Petit is up to his usual high standard.
Even if you’re not much of an X-Men fan, X-Men: Red #1 is well worth checking out. Rather than being steeped in such deep continuity that you’ll require a Masters Degree in advanced Clarmentology just to know who is fighting who and why, this book proves easily accessible to new readers. It has good artwork and features an exciting script that is both fun and funny. This is everything an X-Men comic should be.