Overview

Giant-Size X-Men #3

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Giant-Size X-Men #3

Credits

  • Words: Joss Whedon and Stan Lee
  • Art: Neal Adams, Jack Kirby, Roy Thomas, and Werner Roth
  • Inks: Chic Stone and Dan Adkins
  • Colors: Richard Isanove
  • Story Title: Various
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: Jun 15, 2005

Marvel releases a new issue of Giant Size X-Men, containing one new story and three classic reprints. The big question is: does it hold up to the original issues?

Giant Size X-Men #1 is perhaps one of the most important comic books of comics’ Bronze Age. In it, readers were introduced to the "All New, All Different X-Men," including the now legendary characters Storm, Nightcrawler, and Colossus. Rather than try and match the status of that book, Marvel has chosen to include one new story and three classic reprints in this, the third Giant Size X-Men book.

The new story in this book, titled Teamwork, is a flashback tale of the All New, All Different X-Men introduced in Giant Size #1. In this tale, we see an early meeting of the team. This meeting seemingly fits in between some point in their introduction issue, as early on we learn that Professor X has only brought the team together an hour ago. Of course, being newly brought together to be a team, these X-Men don’t seem to like each other at all. Wolverine starts off this meeting by insulting his new teammates and then unsheathing his claws to fight. And it doesn’t take long for them all to join in the fight.

This short tale of the early days of the All New, All Different X-Men is written by current Astonishing X-Men writer Joss Whedon. While Whedon has found great success with his run on Astonishing X-Men, this story seems stale. Perhaps this is because of the nature of the story. As a flashback tale, Whedon really can’t break new ground with the story. He can’t introduce new elements to the old story, only augment it. He does show some of the growing pains that the team would have gone through, but in the end, it seems rather unnecessary. The dialogue isn’t overbearing and never strays too far from the characters (although Wolverine certainly sounds more like the present Marvel Universe Wolverine than the Wolverine of the 70’s) and the action is nice.

In terms of artwork, this story was supposed to be illustrated by the artist of the original Giant Size X-Men #1, Dave Cockrum. Because of health issues, Mr. Cockrum was only able to complete the cover of the book. But stepping in for him is another legend of the 70’s, Neal Adams. With this short story, Adams proves he hasn’t lost a step. His figures are dynamic, his action scenes are incredible, and every single emotion meant to be conveyed is nailed perfectly. This is vintage Neal Adams all the way through. If there were any small complaints, sometimes Adams seems to overdo it with his line work, but even that seems to make the book look more like a 70’s tale.

As for the rest of the book, it contains three classic tales from the Marvel Silver Age. These stories are advertised on the cover of the book as "The X-Men’s Greatest Team-Ups." While it would probably be better to call it "The Original X-Men’s Greatest Team-Ups," these stories still stand the test of time. Honestly, the first two stories, detailing the X-Men’s first meetings with the Avengers and Fantastic Four, are absolutely Silver Age classics. Written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Jack Kirby, these are tales that epitomize what made Marvel so popular in the Silver Age. The third reprinted story, detailing an early meeting between the X-Men and Spider-Man, loses a bit because it doesn’t have Jack Kirby, but it is still a Silver Age classic. One warning for those who have never read a Stan/Jack book before, Lee’s writing hasn’t aged as well as one would expect. Sometimes it seems like every bit of empty space is covered by Lee’s dialogue. It makes it longer to get through, but totally worth it. Besides, with Jack Kirby action scenes aplenty in this book, you’ll want to look at the pages for a while anyway. To this day, nobody draws an action scene like Jack Kirby did.

If you’ve never experienced classic Marvel tales, for $5 this is a book you can’t miss. If you have read these stories before, I’m not sure I can recommend spending the money just for the Whedon/Adams tale however.

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