Friday, December 9, 2011

X-Men: Regenesis #1 (of 1)

Marvel, 34 pages, $ 3.99

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Billy Tan
Colorist: Andres Mossa
Letterer: Rob Steen
Cover artists: Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend

To their credit, Marvel hasn’t been shy about the fact that someone from the marketing department tends to be present during their plotting retreats. When it was determined to launch Wolverine & the X-Men and relaunch Uncanny X-Men, I imagine that’s where X-Men: Regenesis originated.

It’s not a poorly executed book.

There’s a sense that Mr. Gillen gets the characters right, and his dialogue is fun to read. And while I’ve never seen the appeal of Billy Tan’s art, he does a serviceable job here—apart from Iceman’s hand on page 4, that is, which looks at least one size to small next to his head.

But, lord, this is a pointless story if there ever was one. The book consists of one scene after the other in which Wolverine and Cyclops each try to win over the inhabitants of the X-Men’s Utopia island off San Francisco for their respective teams, one at a time. Cyclops’ group will be staying, Wolverine’s will be leaving, and now it’s time for the X-Men to pick their side.

Except, and this is blindingly obvious as you’re reading this thing, sides were already picked for them well before anyone ever thought of making this book.

I’m sure this sounded better on paper, and Gillen at least tries to do something more with the material by giving it a framing sequence—a symbolic fight between Cyclops and Wolverine in caveman wardrobe, staged around a campfire—that’s meant to serve as a kind of glue for the story. It doesn’t really work, though. If you’re charitable, there’s a thematic connection between the recruitment scenes and the framing backdrop, but it’s a rather tenuous connection.

Overall, I wouldn’t complain if I never saw this type of book again, no matter how well it’s executed. It’s the sort of comic that exists purely because Marvel can make a few more bucks on it. It’s painting by numbers, and not even a lot of numbers: a bit of cosmetics for the fourth-quarter report. There’s no narrative point whatsoever being made here that won’t be covered by the two ongoing titles in due time, and if you skip this, you won’t miss a thing.

Gillen makes the best of it, certainly, but ultimately, X-Men: Regenesis is very far and very obviously removed from any genuine creative impetus.

It’s the worst kind of superhero comic.

Grade: D+

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