X-Men: E Is for Extinction
Grant Morrison, writer,
Frank Quitely, artist
(Marvel Comics, 2001;
reprinting New X-Men # 114-117)


Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly's interpretation of the X-Men is wonderfully strange and intelligent. Morrison's storyline is complex and layered with a level of subtlety and nuance that is rare in superhero comics. Married to this narrative, is Quietly's stylized and unique artwork which renders the X-Men as something more interesting than muscle-bound superheroes in brightly-colored lycra costumes. Together, they have created a refreshingly new interpretation of the X-Men that is unique and well-rendered. Under their direction, the new team consists of Prof. Xavier, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Emma Frost, The Beast and Wolverine. As the story opens, a new villain, Ms. Nova, is introduced who plans to wipe out the human race and create a new world comprised solely of "homo sapiens superior" (aka mutants). The evolution of her plans and the fate of human race unfold in a story that is interesting and exciting. Moreover, the pacing of the story, the visual perspective, and the layout of panels are superbly executed. Longtime readers will witness some uncharacteristically sensitive moments between Cyclops and Wolverine and learn of several new events that will effect familiar characters and places like Prof. X, the Sentinels and Genosha. Arguably one of the most interesting interpretations of the X-Men to have appeared in print, "E for Extinction" is highly recommended and worth reading more than once.


Grant Morrison has mastered the team dynamic on nearly every book he's ever written (Doom Patrol, The Invisibles, JLA), and his New X-Men is a fabulous example. Cyclops is now the most interesting X-Man, new characters pop up every few pages, and the costumes are better than they have been in years. The overall feel of the book is a wonderful return to the inventiveness and wit of the Lee/Kirby days, and Frank Quitely's art is drop-dead gorgeous. Ethan Van Sciver pencils a serviceable coda to the main story, and begins his tenure as the "regular fill-in" artist on the book. Van Sciver is growing noticeably with each issue, so things look pretty good. Don't expect this story to self-contain, incidentally. Morrison won't wrap up anything until he's ready to leave the book, and the closest we come to a conclusion is the end of Imperial, the next story arc. These two books make a pretty good companion set.


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