Collecting: X-Men #141, The Uncanny X-Men #142 (Background story Uncanny X-Men #138-143) Original Release Date: 1981 Publisher: Marvel Comics Character: Kitty Pryde, Wolverine, Rachel Summers, Senator Robert Kelly Writer: Chris Claremont (A 16-year run on The Uncanny X-Men, X-Men with Jim Lee ) Art: John Byrne (X-Men, Fantastic Four, Superman) SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):Storyline – 7 Art – 7 Captivity and Length – 7 Identity – 9 Use of Medium – 8 Depth – 9 Fluidity – 8 Intrigue/Originality – 10 The Little Things – 8 Overall awesomeness – 8
With the evolution of comic book art and the working formula of six-issue story arcs, as well as the familiarization that fans have had with staple characters, it’s rare to see books from the Bronze Age and beyond hold up to books today in general interest or revenue. “Arcs” were rare, and when they did exist, it was typically in a collection of two or three monstrously-sized issues. As is the case with X-Men: Days of Future Past, which oddly enough is a collection of two entirely different X-books.
Written over thirty years ago, and taking place in the apocalyptic future of… last year (2013), DOFP is a love letter as much as it is ground-breaking. This is not your ordinary X-Men book, either, as the two godfathers of X-Men, Claremont and Byrne, drop bombs on readers – introducing a few long-standing characters and revealing some Maury-worthy drama along the way. For those unfamiliar with Claremont’s (and Byrne, to an extent) style, he is an extremely descriptive writer, detailing each character’s internal thought process when making moves or strategizing. This is especially helpful to new fans of the series, but can be excruciatingly repetitive for seasoned readers.
You’re reading this review, which means you have definitely seen an advertisement for this weekend’s release of X-Men: Days of Future Past. As bastardized as the movie is from the source material, the premise remains the same. The Mutant Brotherhood’s attack on an anti-mutant senator leads to a string of events that culminate in the release of Sentinels, secret government bots programmed to eliminate the mutant threat. Things get out of control and, somewhere along the line, everybody dies.
This is where our new heroes come in. Rachel Summers, the daughter of Cyclops and Jean Grey (but not the regular storyline Jean Grey; she’s still dead), joins the dwindling group of mutants still left: Wolverine, Storm, Franklin Richards (son of Mr. Fantastic), Colossus and Kitty Pryde, the latter of whom is a grown woman – which she makes perfectly clear when she insists on going by “Kate.” The whole gameplan is to have Rachel switch Kate’s body with that of her counterpart in 1981 and warn everybody of the impending doom. Kitty Pryde is the most important character in the story, and the mantle of head X-Man has been passed to Storm, who is even able to order Logan around at a certain point.
The story feels quite long, despite taking up just around sixty pages. This can be attributed to the insane amount of panels in the book. The dialog drives a lot of the story, aside from some pretty powerful death scenes, which isn’t a bad thing outright; I love the diction and the way internal monologue turns into conversation and action, but there’s just too much reliance on witty puns and dialog to let the story flow naturally. Furthermore, the newly assembled Mutant Brotherhood is menacing in that way only Bronze Age books can be. Resembling more of the silly Scooby Doo-type villains than the bringers of death they are. That being said, the whimsical X-Men of today provide a sharp contrast to the desperate and fearful of 2013. When in the future, I found myself constantly anxious and paranoid.
To me, this is a story that has so much potential, and it’s been adapted in several animated shows like Ultimate Spider-Man and Wolverine and the X-Men, but most notably in the 1990’s X-Men cartoon, where the role of Kitty Pryde was played by Bishop – which admittedly makes a lot more sense. It’s been proven that alternate timelines where everybody dies are money makers and represent an easy way to liven things up without consequence. There have been several comic book call-backs to this book, from a sequel (Days of Future Present) to a prequel (Wolverine: Days of Future Past). I’m still pissed that they let Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine (I’m tired of seeing this guy’s face) take the place of the Kitty Pryde’s character in the book for the movie, but the upcoming film should be a much-deserved modern adaptation of a great concept.
All media credited to Marvel Comics Written by Sherif Elkhatib