New X-Men: Childhood’s End Volume 1

New X-Men Childhood's End Vol 1By Craig Kyle, Chris Yost (W), and Mark Brooks (A)

Published by Marvel Comics. Cover price $10.99. Originally printed as New X-Men 20-23.

The Plot: The student body of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning deals with the immediate impact of M-Day.

The Positives: New X-Men felt the effects of Scarlet Witch declaring “no more mutants” more than any other X-title. While the X-Men were somehow able to defy the odds and only have a handful of members lose their powers, the New X-Men weren’t so lucky. At least three featured characters were de-powered, as well as 90% of the entire student body. After M-Day, there were fewer students at Xavier’s than there were “teachers.”

This allowed the book to look at M-Day from a different perspective than all the other X-titles. Several different perspectives, in fact. There’s the newly de-powered mutant who still wants to be a hero (Prodigy). There’s the de-powered mutant who gets ignored by his still-powered friends (Tag). There are the still-powered mutants that wish they had been de-powered (Wither, Mercury). And there are the rest of the still-powered mutants that have to deal with losing a great number of their friends and classmates. Decimation was a brief boon to the quality of the X-Men books, and New X-Men may have used the event to the greatest advantage.

The Negatives: New X-Men is a formulaic book. Juts like Young Avengers, Runaways and Avengers: The Initiative, it’s about inexperienced super-powered youths being forced to work together as a team for whatever reason. While it’s obviously not a bad formula, it’s only as good as the creators can make it.

Craig Kyle and Chris Yost unfortunately chose to focus on the drama more than the action. I guess I’m probably not the target demographic, but teen romance doesn’t appeal to me that much. At least not when it’s the focus of the book. New X-Men could be a lot more entertaining if (to use a WB analogy) it was more like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and less like Dawson’s Creek.

The Grade: B-. With Childhood’s End Volume 1, New X-Men managed to gain back quite a bit of momentum after a major change in its status quo. It set up a lot of good stuff that will hopefully be played off in future storylines. The rather explosive cliffhanger ending has me hooked in for the next trade, at least.