Aaron's Reviews > X-Men: Deadly Genesis

X-Men by Ed Brubaker
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Aug 09, 14

Read from August 05 to 09, 2014

For the 30th anniversary of Giant Size X-Men #1, the X book that revitalized the team and made them popular again, Marvel put out this storyline, which also served as a jumping off point for Ed Brubaker's X-Men run. It's kind of weird, though, because their way of honoring Giant Size X-Men was to totally retcon it. This book doesn't completely remove all of the events of that book, they still technically "happened," but it's still a weird move, particularly since the retcon itself doesn't really add anything to the story. There were any number of ways to tell the same story without deconstructing a book from 30 years ago.

Anyway, in this volume we're introduced to Vulcan, a mysterious, insanely powerful mutant we've never seen before. I was kind of surprised by the similarities between this storyline and Winter Soldier, Brubaker's first story on Captain America, which also sought to introduce a seemingly long-dead character via gradual buildup and mystery. It feels a little formulaic, when you compare the two? I mean, I'm willing to forgive Brubaker of this, because I know he isn't a formulaic writer in the least (all his work with Sean Phillips is some of my favorite stuff in comics), but it still seemed to echo the structure of Winter Soldier a little too much.

That said, Brubaker's storytelling style just works. While nothing hyper original or thrilling happens here, and at times even feels kind of anticlimactic (such as when (view spoiler)), it's still written in a solidly entertaining way. There are so many comics writers who have no idea how to keep a story flowing from panel to panel, and this is something Brubaker will seemingly never mess up.

That said, Vulcan just isn't an impressive new addition to the X-Men rogues gallery (at least not yet, I know he comes back in later stories that I haven't read). When he's first revealed, he seems like an unbeatable, ultrapowerful super-enemy, with no real weak spots to speak of. I got hooked by this. I wanted to know what the X-Men could possibly do to stop someone who seemingly had an answer for anything they could throw at him. But as the story progresses and more is revealed about Vulcan, the less menacing he seems, until ultimately he just comes across as a whiny, undisciplined teenager who never "got his way" or something.

There's also a little discrepancy I feel like a total dork for pointing out. At the end of House of M, the lingering question is "If Scarlet Witch took away all the energy-wielding mutants' powers, where did all the energy go" (law of conservation of energy, of course). Well, in the New Avengers storyline The Collective, that question is answered. All of the energy flows into a single person, giving the Avengers a massively powerful new enemy to combat. Well, at the beginning of Deadly Genesis, that same "where did the energy go" question is asked, and then the answer seems to be that some of it went into Vulcan to reawaken him. Well, which is it, Marvel? It can't really be both. Seems like if you want to bring a character back from the dead, you are going to do it (see: every superhero in the Marvel universe), so maybe don't split the consequences of a major plotline to suit whatever purpose you need. Dork Time over.

Anyway, while I found this book pretty disappointing, I wouldn't call it flat-out "bad." There's some great character work, and the first few issues are downright thrilling. It seems to be setting up a lot of potentially interesting things down the road, so I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt. That said, if you never read this, you will not regret it on your deathbed.
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