X-Tinction Agenda #1 Review: Picking Up Where We Left Off … 25 Years Ago


X-tinction Agenda #1
Writer: Guggenheim, Marc
Artist: Di Giandomenico, Carmine
Cover Artist: Nakayama, David

Both Marvel and DC have been having fun with telling new stories based on situations from their pasts. If this is the device that they have to resort to in order to round out often incomplete or rushed narratives, I am all for it.  I have often thought that comic stories move too fast, and that not enough time is spent fleshing out characters and situations. “Let’s move on to the next story as quickly as possible,” comic publishers seem to be communicating to fans. The cynic in me sees it as simple marketing: hit the consumer with as many new products as fast as you can, no matter what. I also see it as a weakness in comic storytelling in general. We have a main story, let’s hit as many salient points as possible, move on. Creative teams behind a comic can only be counted on for only a set number of issues, so let’s get those checked off. There is rarely time for reflection or digging into longer narratives, it seems.

RELATED: Years of Future Past #1 Review

So this recent trend of placing our heroes and villains in stories from the past, sometimes creating a fresh story, is a welcome narrative device. Many of those stories were weak to begin with, and adding this second layer helps round out what was at the core of those stories. In other cases, the publisher is revisiting well received and successful plots, adding texture while raking in the dollars. Marvel’s newest Secret Wars tie-in, X-Tinction Agenda #1, falls somewhere in the middle.

The original X-Tinction crossover was a bit of a mess. The titles involved did not sync as they should have, in part because of a poorly thought out release schedule, and in part because the creative teams involved seemed to be writing with no thought of what was going on in the other books. But the appeal of the story was undeniable, teaming up Marvel’s popular X-teams to confront and ultimately defeat the totalitarian and mutant-abusing government of Genosha. It just would have been nice, all those years ago, if Marvel had planned out the story a little better.

Fast forward to now, and we have apparently gotten our wish. X-Tinction Agenda #1 works toward filling out the storylines from the original while creating some fresh ones by combining this narrative with the larger Secret Wars continuity. The last we saw our heroes (25 years ago), they had defeated the Genoshan government. Havok and Rahne, among other X-Men, decided to stay behind and help rebuild the country. They have seen some success from their efforts, but mutant-human assimilation has proven difficult. The “Extinction Plague” killing off mutants is a large part of this conflict; Havok and the powers that be have failed to protect the mutant population from its decimating effects. Riots and upheaval are the result. After approaching Lord Doom for assistance and not receiving it, the Genoshan leaders formulate a daring plan to save their nation.

It’s pretty straightforward stuff, but the creative team behind this title gives us just enough world-building and attention to detail that the story feels fresh and fun. The artwork by Carmine Di Giandomenico, in particular, gives the story a density and grace that we wish were present in some of the other Secret Wars tie-ins. I look forward to finding out where he and the rest of the title’s creative team take the story next.

Next: Secret Wars Battle Report, Week Five

More from Bam Smack Pow