It’s finally here. The most anticipated and hyped-up X-Universe crossover since Messiah CompleX, or maybe even Age of Apocalypse. For those of you who have been under the proverbial rock for the past four months: Age of X is an alternate-universe X-story crossover involving the Legacy and New Mutants books. The project is helmed and written by Mike Carey, the Legacy scribe of the past few years, and penciled primarily by Clay Mann and Steve Kurth. Leading up to the first issue, Age of X Alpha, which debuted this week, there has been a myriad of viral advertising, including “Secret” files from Henry Gyrich, character Bios and back stories, and promotional art highlighting prominent (or deadly, rather) moments in Mutant history during the Age of X. While Chapter One in the six-issue arc, set to run through April, doesn’t hit shelves until February, Alpha #1-Shot came out this Wednesday and serves as a precursor and prologue to set the stage, showcasing some familiar X faces.
So does this issue do its job? Does it set us up with great anticipation for Chapter One in February? Absolutely. Carey is joined by a variety of artists in this issue to relay some background information on some of the X-faces we can expect to see during the series. All the artwork is great, with the exception of the opening flashback tale, but that matters not, because every tale is interesting and unique.
The comic opens during the near-extinction period of the “x-gene people”, (remember, the term X-men has never existed), where an assorted group have gathered at Fortress X to make one of their nightly stands against their human persecutors. The group is chatting and telling stories of how they came to wind up at the Fortress, and elaborate upon their own circumstances. Among the back stories we hear include Basilisk (Cyclops), Cannonball & Husk, Wolverine, and Magneto.
I’ve been following Age of X since it was first revealed in October, and I simply can’t get enough. I love alternate universe concepts and the recreation of characters outside of canon. Carey’s run on X-Men is what got me heavily involved back in the title years ago, and I’ve enjoyed everything he’s done with it up until now. I have no doubt that this crossover will be stupendous.