Years Of Future Past #1 Review: That Time Mutants Faced A Holocaust


Years of Future Past #1
Writer: Bennett, Marguerite
Artist: Norton, Mike
Cover Artist: Adams, Arthur

As I stated in my review of the Secret Wars tie-in Inferno #1, I have a soft spot for Marvel’s crossover events of the late 80s and early 90s. I was leaving my teenage years behind, and the stories Marvel was producing, while uneven, kept me company during those confusing (but fun!) years. And while I have been an inconsistent follower of their crossover events as an adult, I was naturally drawn to many of this year’s tie-ins.

Years of Future Past #1 was one such title. The source material, Days of Future Past, was one of the first X-Men storylines that I followed as a child. In retrospect, the adult themes and tragedy that we see from the story were ill-suited for children, but I could say that for so many of the comics I read as a kid. I do not think my adults understood what I had gotten myself into. In any event, this new iteration of Marvel’s mutant dystopia draws on the mythology set up in the original while also building it up with (somewhat) new character dynamics and motivations.

First, a note on the cover artist: Marvel  enlisted Art Adams for the cover artwork on this title. His output has waned in the past dozen years, but there was a time when many, myself included, considered him one of the preeminent comic book artists around. He had a knack for dynamic poses of characters and brought a humanism to faces and interactions that even today is not common. Seeing his artwork on the cover of Years of Future Past#1 made the fanboy in me smile with delight.

The artist that Marvel signed for the main story, Mike Norton, while totally competent, reminds me a little too much of the original story and John Byrne’s work. Not quite as clean, I was disappointed that Marvel went this route. I would have preferred a fresh interpretation of this universe rather than an attempt at recreation. And the story, solidly built by Marguerite

Bennett, feels equally unoriginal. In a nutshell, the X-Men of the future, along with all mutants, have either been hunted to the edge of extinction or live in internment camps, watched over by a fascist human state. Our heroes try to change this narrative. Ms. Bennett, however, fails to infuse much in the way of novelty to this premise. Her characters and story develop predictably. Inarguably, it was fun seeing favorite characters again, fun seeing another generation of X-Men. I just wish we could have seen them in a story that did not feel tired and created by way of a checklist.

New fans may latch onto this title because of its odd symmetry compared to mainstream X-titles. I am sure Marvel hopes that is the case. It would be my wish that those same fans will understand the trick Marvel is playing on them though. While subtly different, Years of Future Past #1 does not offer anything particularly new.

This title’s role as a tie-in is perhaps it most intriguing aspect. Doom, as we have seen in the main Secret Wars title, views mutants as a blight on his Battleworld. Whether through Years of Future Past or one of the other mutant tie-ins, we get the feeling, as readers, that Doom is going to drop the hammer on all mutants.

(I am not sure where his animosity toward them came from. I do not think of Dr. Doom as particularly anti-mutant. But maybe that is something that will be fleshed out.)

It looks as if a main theme shaping up for Secret Wars is Doom’s desire to keep mutants repressed. And while this version of Victor Von Doom has been one of the best that I remember, I like the idea of his meeting resistance from our favorite mutants from either today or from years of future past.

Next: Secret Wars #3 Review

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