From the House of Ideas: X-Men #1 and Extreme Carnage: Alpha #1

Last week saw the arrival of two #1s that both delivered solid storytelling, managing to stand out amongst the many books I read.

First up was X-Men #1, written by Gerry Duggan and illustrated by Pepe Larraz. Following the events of the Hellfire Gala, a new team of X-Men has gathered, with a home base, the Treehouse, plopped down right in the middle of New York City. This time, the team feature stalwarts Cyclops and Marvel Girl, alongside Polaris, Sunfire, Rogue, Synch and Wolverine (Laura Kinney), and their first battle is up against a giant creepy-crawly that they unsurprisingly manage to take down as a unit. Of course, seeds are planted for a larger big bad for the X-Men to deal with, but for the most part this debut issue was all about the action, which is delivered by Pepe Larraz beautifully. His work is familiar to current X-readers, and makes the transition between former writer Jonathan Hickman and new one Gerry Duggan palatable.

Truth be told, I was a bit let down to see a new X-Men #1 was coming, but without Hickman writing it. While there were moments in the previous volume where I felt a little unsure of what was happening (it helps to have a dictionary handy when Hickman starts writing sci-fi), with his oversight the X-books have become my Marvel go-to books, with his X-Men leading the charge. However, I wasn’t disappointed at all with what Gerry Duggan delivered story-wise. Its an admittedly streamlined tale, but one that feels completely in place with the series I’d been enjoying. Kudos to all involved, and I’m eager to see where this title goes next.

Also new out this past week was Extreme Carnage: Alpha #1, the first in a five issue mini-series that brings Carnage to the forefront following the massive King in Black storyline from earlier this year. The book, written by horror scribe Phillip Kennedy Johnson and illustrated by Manuel Garcia sees Carnage on the loose again, including haunting resurrected Flash Thompson aka Agent Anti-Venom, while a group called the Friends of Humanity is working to turn the world against the presence of any and all aliens on Earth.

The symbiotes and their stories have become the horrific side of Marvel comices currently, and this is really on display in Extreme Carnage, which delivers its entertainment with a healthy helping of blood and gore. This is absolutely up my alley, mind you, and it feels like the book is working in the realm of a John Carpenter’s The Thing, when it comes to both plot (who is/could be a symbiote) and visual style (so much blood and body horror). If you like your comics with a horror bent and a tinge of red, Extreme Carnage: Alpha #1 is worth picking up.

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