Retro Review: X-Men #1

by Jason Laframboise on April 08, 2017

X-Men #1

Writer: Stan The man Lee

Artist: Jack King Kirby
Published by Marvel Comics 
Cover dated: September 1963

Since the X-Men are big in the news recently, I thought it would be the perfect time to do another Retro Review featuring 1963's X-Men #1. A historic issue that introduced the world to not only Professor X and his original team of X-Men but also their greatest enemy Magneto.

We start with action right away, showing Professor X and four of the original X-Men, Cyclops, Iceman, Beast and the Angel, training in the danger room. The opening was a great way to highlight each of the X-Men's powers, as well as some of the early characterization. Cyclops and Iceman are pretty well defined early on, while Angel is pretty boring to be honest. Beast early on is kind of cribbed from the Thing, which I'm glad they changed later on. This issue starts a pattern that would be repeated over the years that had the X-Men defeating Magneto and the master of magnetism escaping to fight another day. Other then that the book had yet to find it's later direction. These early issues introduced a lot of very important characters that would continue to effect the Marvel Universe for decades to come. Perhaps in a future retro review I will get a chance to touch on some of the other books, especially the two parter that introduced the Juggernaut, which is in my opinion the best of these stories.

This is one of the few times I will ever criticize Jack Kirby. Jack was my hero when I was a wee one. I have a report I wrote way back in 1992 saying that he was the person I idolize the most. With that being said this is lazy Jack. Maybe it's that he was overworked at this time, maybe the concept didn't interest him as much as say Thor or the Fantastic Four, but this is Jack Kirby phoning it in. Now Kirby uninterested is still better then a lot of artist but still the art suffers in this book. We do get the great typical Kirby styled design on Magneto. That classic costume is still being used today and is a testament to Kirby's imaginative designs. The rest of the X-Men are hit and miss.

Nostalgia was high re-reading this one as I had a reprint copy of this issue along with the first 5 or so issues of the first series. I fondly remember reading these issues until they fell apart. Despite some of my criticism I still love these early issues and I still have a special place in my heart for the original five X-Men. Thanks to the awesome Marvel Essential series I have been able to read these old stories again and of course now I can read them on the go with the Marvel Unlimited app which this and the last retro review were read on.

Our Score:


A Look Inside