This volume marks the start of Grant Morrison’s 2001 soft reboot of the X-Men franchise, often called New X-Men. It sought to be a jumping on point for new readers following the success of the first X-Men film and works very well. Although there are some legacy continuity points that aren’t explained everything you need as a newcomer is there for you to get started. The team is new, the costumes are new and there is also a new villain(ess).
The art is great with Frank Quietly taking the widescreen approach that he used on The Authority where most panels stretch the width of the page and in some cases across the width of two pages. There are also clever insets and breakouts at just the right moments. Each issue has a distinctive title page and there are plenty of great touches. The colouring is strong and modern but more functional than stylish.
Sadly this only collects the first four issues, but they are long issues and the ample dialogue means it isn’t a quick read. The star of the show is Morrison’s eleven page treatment outlining in detail what was currently wrong with the X-Men title and how he intended to fix it. This is a fascinating read and it is interesting to see what changed from his original vision to the final pages. There is also a single page of sketch art.
If you are only familiar with Morrison’s more outlandish works such as the Invisibles or Doom Patrol and are nervous about how accessible this title is then don’t be. This is a very mainstream title with a good balance of action and soap opera and perfect for a bit of escapism.