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X-Men: First Class - Road Trips
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘X-Men: First Class – Road Trips’ review

X-Men First Class adventures are back in print with a new digest trade paperback.

You really can’t go wrong with the X-Men. There are many lineups and crazy combinations of everyone’s favorite mutant heroes, yet there is especially enduring appeal to the first class of X-Men to study under Professor X. Today, we get a digest collection of “hidden stories” that showcase their adventures and struggles. We see Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast, and Marvel Girl as the originals in “modern” adaptations of their classic tales. Before they became legends, they were students.

X-Men: First Class - Road Trips
Marvel Comics

This trade paperback is the second of its kind; the first is X-Men First Class: Mutants 101, which features the original volume of X-Men First Class with its eight issues and the First Class Special they had to follow up. Luckily, those issues were fan favored enough to merit a second volume that ran for another 16 issues, a special, one-shots, and a miniseries. The First Class line of comics was a great way for Marvel to introduce fans to a less complicated version of the X-Men with several done-in-one stories that were fun without high-stakes risks.

X-Men: First Class - Road Trips
Marvel Comics

Jeff Parker has found his voice for each character, and he has his stride down. In issue #1, Jeff plays with the idea of Jean Grey being the only girl on the team, so she gets to “job shadow” the Invisible Girl from the Fantastic Four; I love the way these two school the boys on their teams by showing just how amazingly powerful they are. What is also fun from that issue is how modern relationships are played with back in that “era.” For example, Scott Summers is jealous of the Human Torch getting close to Jean. Seeing how much the guys recognized how valuable a team member Jean is to their mission was terrific.

That issue was a significant step towards showing how this group of teens formed a team. As the volume progresses, we get adventures where each character finds moments of self-doubt and can overcome it with perseverance or help from the group. I like that these stories don’t override what existed from the original Marvel Age of stories, but instead add to those eras. Jeff Parker does a great job of taking those stories from the 1960s and adding them to story elements from 2008 without feeling out of place or unnatural. He plays the teenage struggle perfectly, and the X-Men adapt very well to that subject matter. These stories hold up nicely for a 2022 audience (though the lack of smartphones everywhere is a little jarring if you think about it).

X-Men: First Class - Road Trips
Marvel Comics

The art team consists of Roger Cruz, Julia Bax, and Eric Ngyuen, and their styles are consistent. Cruz and Bax are very similar in art style and layout approach, which is great as when you’re reading the stories, you won’t get distracted by the change in the artist. Eric Ngyuen is a little different in their style, but the adventure with Man-Thing works to help showcase this is a different adventure with a little more edge. The Marvel Girl/Scarlet Witch and other backup adventures by Jeff Parker and Colleen Coover are great to end an issue with lighthearted fun.

'X-Men: First Class – Road Trips' review
Marvel Comics

If you’re a fan of the X-Men Evolution cartoon series, teen drama, or the original X-Men lineup, you will enjoy this trade paperback collection. These digest trades are perfect recommendations if you want to give a teenager something to read that will entertain them. This First Class collection is a great way to remind us of the joy of comics and why we have bonded with these characters in the manner we have. Jeff Parker and the team managed to add to their struggles as people instead of reminding us they’re outcasts as mutants.

X-Men: First Class - Road Trips
‘X-Men: First Class – Road Trips’ review
X-Men: First Class - Road Trips
Timeless adventures with Marvel's Merry Mutants back when they were Xavier's First Class. You get to see these young heroes grow and earn their place in the Marvel Universe as they tackle the Hulk and Man-Thing, save the world with the Fantastic Four, and get into hi-jinx with the Black Widow.
Reader Rating1 Vote
9
Fans of Marvel Girl will be treated to some adventures that help to showcase why she is a powerhouse on the team
The all-ages timeless style of stories helps to take these 1960s heroes and put them in modern (as of 2008) adventures
Jeff Parker gave each X-Man the right voice
The three different artists work perfectly together to keep the overall style/tone of the book intact without distracting you as you read
The digest size does make the collection more appealing to a younger audience, but can be great for the upcoming holidays
9
Great
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