Dawn of X is getting a first miniseries this week in Chip Zdarsky and Terry Dodson’s X-Men + Fantastic Four #1. Running four issues, it focuses on Franklin Richards, the son of Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman, and the desire of Xavier and Magneto to bring him into the fold at Krakoa. Not if his mother Sue Storm has anything to say about it! This book also features Kate Pryde as another main character and should have Marauders fans very excited as Kate and her crew play into the narrative as well.
This is an intriguing series thanks to the basic premise of Franklin being just old enough to be whisked off for Krakoan–and mutant–training, but his human superhero parents have to relinquish their control over their boy or fight to protect him. It’s something many of us dealt with as we moved on to college even though many of our parents were pained to see us go. It also reminds me of the complex relationship Betsy Braddock has as she’s the Captain Britain of the UK, has a human brother she loves, and yet mutant society is tugging at her to leave all that behind. There is a natural conflict between humans and mutants at work here and essentially both sides aren’t wrong.
Dodson and Zdarsky are certainly not making it black and white when it comes to the side, either. This book makes a case that both sides were not so pure, with Invisible Woman literally freaking out at Magneto over her child being taken away, and in a scene featured in the preview a not-so-subtle Xavier admitting he wants to utilize Kate Pryde’s prior relationship with Franklin to manipulate him into moving to Krakoa. He even has a big evil grin when he says this. You’ll love how Thing is depicted as he’s sensible and full of heart. I imagine he might be the only Fantastic Four member who most Krakoans would welcome to the island.
This book is pretty dense with plenty of action and good character beats between multiple characters — my favorites are Reed and Sue’s honest talks and Thing and Franklin chatting it out. There’s even a great data page you won’t want to miss, adding to the complexities of superpowers in this universe.
The art by Dodson with inks by Rachel Dodson (and ink assists by Dexter Vines and Karl Story) with colors by Laura Martin is fantastic. Dodson’s style has always been pleasing to the eye thanks to a gentle curve and sense of energy that never leaves the page. Simple scenes with characters talking in a single room are given a nice bird’s-eye view to see them all before cutting to close-ups and establishing shots. There’s a dance going on visually which keeps the dialogue scenes interesting. There are also some great full-page spreads, further making this feel practically like an event book. Martin’s colors aren’t too bright, which helps portray this world a bit more realistically than other x-books. Xavier’s helmet is pretty impressive too by all involved. Letters by Joe Caramagna are very sure of themselves helping to pull off the personalities of each of the characters in this book.
I had a blast with this first issue — so much so I wish it wasn’t just a miniseries! This is a coming-of-age tale embroiled in the politics of adults made more dramatic thanks to superpowers and superegos. If you have an affinity for strong characters, clever plotting and domestic drama, don’t pass on this. Zdarsky and Dodson are adding interesting narrative textures to the Dawn of X line.
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