I was expecting to have to take a broad-minded approach here. After all, I’m hardly the target audience for an X-Men version of Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane. The product itself is something of a surprise, however, with a considerably different tone from what the solicits lead me to expect. The opening issue of Kathryn Immonen’s miniseries is still a distinctly off-the-wall offering, but not in the manner expected.
The obvious disconnection between the X-Men’s island-under-siege status quo and light-hearted high-school escapades is quickly resolved, with the story immediately revealing that there’s nothing natural about the environment the cover stars find themselves in. Despite the title, this first issue at least is a genuine team book, with Pixie herself being allotted an equal amount of panel time compared to the other X-Young Women. To be frank, the plot is more than a little muddied, and the prospect of another excursion into the demonic wing of the X-Franchise doesn’t really appeal so soon after The Quest For Magik generated such widespread apathy.
This is the first piece of Immonen’s work that I’ve encountered, but the writer displays considerable skill of characterisation to make the potentially niche premise work. The New X-Men & Young X-Men casts are actually much more interesting figures that the New Mutants and Generation X teams which preceded them, in part due to their having evolved organically instead of being created as a fait accompli. They have, however, often proved somewhat difficult for writers to fully capture. Despite Matt Fraction and Mike Carey’s obvious interest in the kids, there have been several glitches in their inclusion into the core books. Immonen, in contrast, largely succeeds, even with the obviously challenging figure of Blindfold. It’s not quite a perfect result, with the writer’s Rockslide feeling a little forced and Mercury displaying a neurotic streak that’s a departure for the character, but it is a very creditable score. Particularly impressive is the reconciliation of the rival Kyle/Yost and Fraction versions of Pixie.
As I said, it’s an oddball piece of work, despite this key strength. While I’m mildly curious to see how the remainder of the series will play out, in all honesty, I’m left more interested in what the writer might achieve with these characters in a more conventional setting.