by jfpj1991, CMRO User
Written by Len Wein, Art by Dave Cockrum
Published: May 1975
This is one of the most iconic issues of X-Men around, and for those reading the Order, it is a huge milestone.
The cover itself is inspiring, and as you turn inside to the first page, you know the art in the issue is going to be great. On top of the art, the first page shows true diversity in what is to become the second generation of X-Men. Wolverine is Canadian, Storm is African, Thunderbird is Native American, Colossus is Russian, Banshee is Irish, Nightcrawler is German, and Sunfire is Japanese.
As we move into the story we see very brief scenes of recruitment for the new members by Xavier. Xavier appeals to each characters desires to recruit them, such as Nightcrawler’s desire for acceptance, Colossus’s sense of duty, and Thunderbird’s sense of pride. We also get to see Wolverine’s hard side. A much needed introduction for this character after what many considered a weak debut in the Hulk’s title.
The second part of the issue involves all of the new mutants congregating together at Xavier’s mansion where he introduces everyone to Cyclops. Cyclops fills them in on what triggered Xavier’s immediate need for new X-Men, but to be honest, I felt this was a bit rushed. It makes sense where this picks up to a reader of the X-Men, but since that title had been cancelled years prior, there was an entire new generation of readers that may not have been familiar with the X-Men. Granted, I don’t know what type of reprints were out, but my main gripe is that in story, Cyclops is relating a tale to these new members without any sort of background on the team or introduction of himself. No one goes for orientation on the first day of a new job and has the trainer start barking orders. Usually there is an introduction of sorts. That being said, Krakoa is built up nicely as a mysterious place, full of danger.
Part three shows our new team arriving at the island. After a group of six mutants were overpowered in seconds on the last visit, I can’t say that the strategy of pairing in two’s was very wise. There is quite a bit of friction that can be sense also within each pair, as well as the group as a whole. We also see a darker side of Scott’s mind. He has always been a stand alone leader, but the loss of his team is clearly haunting him and shows how much he cares about his responsibility as the leader.
As the each land and the four teams see a newly risen temple, it is easy to see that splitting the groups up was partly filler for the issue, but it was enjoyable filler as readers are able to see each mutant in action. It keeps the pages from being too cluttered with too much action at once.
It is nice to see such a robust population of mutants on the pages, after the release of the original X-Men. The ensuing final battle is masterfully done. The mind of the island is a match for even Xavier, so fans don’t have to worry about an Odin type ending. The ever-present tension between Cyclops and Havok continues to exist as Lorna prepares to attack Krakoa, and Iceman still presents himself as creepy. I wish Beast had been apart of this issue as well, but the issue did not lack for his absence. Overall the issue was fantastic and carried a lot of historical weight.