Hey, how’s about that then? Apparently there is this X-Men character called ‘Storm’, who has weather powers and can fly and doesn’t back down from anybody. You’d be forgiven for forgetting about her existence over the past five or six years, because aside from a few honourable attempts by Chris Yost and Ed Brubaker, she hasn’t appeared as a leading character for a very long time indeed. Married off to an Avengers character, she’s straddled the line between supporting character and splash-page pin-up for longer than I can really remember. Why bring that up? Because for once, the cover doesn’t lie, and Storm actually proves to be the main character in Victor Gischler and Will Conrad’s adjectiveless ‘X-Men’ series.

Gischler continues from where he left off, basically, with the ‘Regenesis’ unimportant to anything that happens in the story. He’s already picked his random collection of X-Men before the story begins, with Domino, Warpath, Jubilee, Colossus and Psylocke led by Storm. The premise of the series also remains ‘X-Men Team-Up’, with War Machine showing up as this month’s guest star. The story is concerned with sinister people owning a sentinel, and the X-Men trying to stop them from using it. But this is all set-up, you guys, as War Machine jumps in, tries to order the X-Men about, and gets in a fight with them as a result.

Very much more of the same, then. The problem that adjectiveless has always had is that it has no particular voice as a book. Every arc is different, with a different guest-star, and nothing happens that affects anything. A random bunch of X-Men fight somebody, then team up with them, and save the day. Gischler tells perfectly fine stories, but there’s certainly nothing notable about anything he’s done so far. The book is a product of editoral more than anything else. The tone here is very much a political thriller type of story, and that means Gischler gets to have a lot of fun with Domino, War Machine, and Storm. Colossus also has a nice scene, but that’s more to do with Storm than anything else.

Although her costume is weird and Conrad struggles to find ways to depict her without thrusting her bum out, Storm is the centre of the issue; There’s a charm to seeing her back to her old ways, strutting around and ignoring any authority which tries to impose itself on her. Her familial side also shows up, as she stops Colossus from getting too aggressive with War Machine – Gischler does a good job of highlighting the two, competing, sides of the character. Caring and careless.

War Machine also gets a few good lines, although his role seems forced at best. He marches about, telling people off, distrusting the X-Men for no particularly good reason. The fight is especially difficult to take, unless you switch off and just allow it to happen. The plot is going through the motions, and you’ll just have to accept that nothing surprising is going to happen here. And as for the rest of the cast? Barely featured whatsoever. This is Storm’s show, and everybody else is in service to her.

She looks good, too, thanks to Will Conrad and Chris Sotomayor’s art and colours. Conrad’s style seems a little similar to Mike Deodato Jr – no bad thing – and his composition and storytelling is superb. He excels in particular with the action sequences, which are exciting and dynamic. He also draws a brilliant Domino, with the assassin’s mostly wordless appearance benefitting greatly from his style.

Is X-Men worth picking up? Only if you like the characters. As ever, the book fails to find a particular voice or uniqueness. It tells a bog-standard story, bog-standard-ily, and nothing that surprising or interesting happens. But at least Storm is back.


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