Comic Review – Age of X-Man Alpha #1 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“It is the age of perfection” – Narrator

Cover art by Phil Noto (Marvel Comics)

With a new X-Men series kicking off I took the chance this week to return to the team to see how they are holding up. This is an ‘Age of’ series which means we are talking alternate timelines/realities and the majority of the team will have some kind of presence. This one will be the Age of X-Man Alpha, so we can assume that Nate Grey, aka X-Man will be pivotal to everything that is going in this run. In my experience the plots to the ‘Age of’ runs can contain fascinating concepts and alternate takes on characters so this was well worth a look.

This comic is bought to us by:

  • Writers – Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler
  • Artist – Ramon Rosanas
  • Colour Artist – Triona Farrell
  • Letterer – VC’s Clayton Cowles
  • Cover Artist – Phil Noto

The world is a utopia, where mutant-kind has come back from the brink of extinction, mutants and homo-sapiens live in a fully integrated society where the stigma of the X-gene seems to be completely gone (It’s interesting to see no mention of Inhumans however). The X-Men play a critical role in keeping people safe and many of the team have taken a step out of the super-hero life to bring up and educate mutants in this new world. The steps that bought about this world, where peace and harmony has finally been achieved, are yet to be explained, although it is apparent that many of the original A-listers have unfortunately passed away to bring this about. It’s only at the end of the issue where it becomes clear that this world and peace is not what it seems. It does bring about the question, yet again, as to if the dream of Professor X is ultimately achievable at all. Nate Grey himself plays a role in the issue, but no more than the other characters, if this is to be his story his role is not totally apparent yet.

Art by Rosanas, Farrell & Cowles (Marvel Comics)

Rosanas and Farrell combine well to portray a world that feels dream-like. This does seem to be Professor X’s dream fully realised, so the light touch line work from Rosanas and light colour pallet from Farrell really help create that atmosphere. The contrast towards the end of the issue, where the twist is revealed, in the change in pallet and use of light emphasises the uncertainty as to what is really going on.

Final Verdict

We don’t know much about the world of Age of X-Man Alpha yet. It’s clear that not everything is what it seems, though I doubt there would be much of a comic if it was. The issue did drag a little to begin with for me, though it’s clear the world building was trying to be set out.

My one major issue is less to do with the story itself, but the huge number of tag lines saying “Find Out Why This Character Is Picking His Nose in The Amazing Nose Picking Mutant #1” or at least something to that effect. At times this felt less like a first issue and more like a run of adverts. I am curious to see where the plot goes and what is really going on here. Hopefully outside of the first issue there won’t be so many of these though.

Comic Review – Astonishing Ant-Man #1 (Marvel Comics)

Kit is taking over the weekly comic book review because Adam is in the unenviable position of attempting to finish off his PhD.

“I get to see the Ant die…”

“Well, you certainly would—If this weren’t merely a trial demonstration.” – The Power Broker

Warning: minor spoilers.

It’s me again! Carrying on the cover of the Weekly Comic Book reviews whilst Adam continues to procrastinate get LOADS of work done on his thesis. Fortunately I still have it pretty easy pickings, with the continuation of the ‘All New All Different’ Marvel. I’ll be covering another first issue this week, The Astonishing Ant Man #1. Why this? Well it’s brand new and with the recent film – which I loved – it will likely have a fair few interested new readers. Don’t worry DC fans, I’ll pick up a new DC issue soon. After Squirrel Girl #1 (again?) next week.

So, on with the review! The Astonishing Ant Man, written by Nick Spencer and drawn by Ramon Rosanas, like the film follows the Scott Lang incarnation of the hero. We’re introduced to him in a single panel, with a very similar history to the film version of the hero. He’s an ex con, he’s now a hero, he has an ex-wife and a daughter. However in this world his daughter is a teen as opposed to a child. This is what I want in a first issue comic, especially one with a huge amount of back story and history kicking around.

Ant Man 1The story begins fleshing out the Ant Man of this world, and his companions, someone in a bear suit and a talking computer program, with a taste in topless men! The team are down on their luck, trying to make it as a security firm. It seems an ex-hero called Miss Patriot bankrolled them early on, and wants the money the team owe her!

Scott goes to ‘visit’ his daughter, who’s a basket-balling teenager in this comic. We learn that she once had the Pym Particles in her, and has had the powers of Ant Man before. We also learn that Scott is more stalking, than meeting his daughter, spying on her as opposed to talking to her. It turns out he blames himself for a past ‘sickness’ she had, where her heart was apparently stolen by a mad businessman? Yeah. Whereas I felt Spider-Gwen was a little too heavy handed in the flash backs, Ant Man could maybe have done with a little more.

We then get to meet said mad businessman. Mr Cross, who owns Cross Technologies, and now has the Pym Particles inside him, although he doesn’t have entire control over them it seems. We also get to meet Power Broker, a grey man who wants Mr Cross’s business. It seems Mr Cross needs better henchmen, and you know what, there’s an app for that!

A seemingly obscure (at least I’d never heard of) villain is contracted to bring down Ant Man. And the battle begins, just when Scott is off trying to impress a new client! We get to see two battles play out, the one physical one with Ant Man and the henchman and the business ‘battle’ between the Power Broker and Mr Cross.

The comic of course looks great, Ramon Rosanas packs a lot of detail and expression into his panels.

Final Verdict

This is a well written start to a new series. It refers to A LOT of past adventures and heroic escapades compared to Spider-Gwen and Dr Strange. Which would be my main criticism of it. These first issues are supposed to be the jumping on point for new readers, new readers who are often put off by the massive amount of back story out there for each hero. The first page did a great job in setting up the premise of this Ant Man though. If you want to see more antics like the film, and a slightly satirical look at modern super heroes, this is a great series to begin on!

Final Score – 8 Pym Particles out of 10!