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‘X-Men: Marvels Snapshot #1’ (review)

Written by Jay Edidin
Art by Tom Reilly
Published by Marvel Comics

 

Marvel Comics has long operated on the premise that all these superheroes as celebrities of sorts. Rock stars, movie stars, but bigger in every way.

I think we have a much different relationship to celebrity in 2020 than when Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross dropped Marvels on the comics world in 1994. We see more of our celebrities as gods and monsters than ever before, and we have so many more of them to fill all these outlets. That’s why we have television shows about real estate agents, pawn shop owners, and eccentric clans of duck hunters.

However, in a world with superheroes, would there even be room for those reality TV stars? Would you care about the latest feud between pop starlets in a world where extraterrestrials and beings from other dimensions are proven real?

If you’re a teenage Scott Summers, or the other children in the Nebraskan state home where he lives, why would you care about anything else?

That’s the overall premise of Marvel’s Snapshots, a collection of eight standalone stories revisiting the original landmark Marvels limited series. Just like Marvels did, Marvels Snapshots attempts to depict the Marvel mythos through the eyes of ordinary people. Or, in this story’s case, before the hero became one.

Writer Jay Edidin, host of the popular podcast Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men, makes his Marvel Comics debut with this story, “And the Rest Will Follow.” It’s a great title that, yes, pops up during the story. But it’s also a great title because the story focuses on whom all the rest do follow: Cyclops, leader of the X-Men.

I’m used to X-Men fans talking about how much Cyclops sucks that it’s become a badge of honor among deeper X-Men fans to defend Scott Summers. And so Edidin, as an X-Men superfan, goes to bat for the resolute square with the crimson glasses by connecting him to another stodgy stalwart leader, Reed Richards.

Edidin uses Cyclops’ pre-Xavier childhood to connect him to the Fantastic Four in a novel way. Both Cyclops and the Fanastic Four’s origins involve a flight gone “horribly, horribly wrong,” as Cyclops’ voiceover says. It makes sense that this newer generation of heroes would be influenced by the first wave, but here we see it happen.

Artist Tom Reilly captures the fantasy with a grounded naturalism that perfectly fits the feel of the original Marvels story. A particularly fine sequence displays the Fantastic Four and other Marvel heroes splashed across mid-20th century media in a way I never tire of. Or the way he draws Reed Richards from above as he stretches his neck 2 feet high, and rotates his head upward and beyond nature, just before a new threat literally tears the roof off his lecture.

One of the great things about Cyclops as a character is how self-aware of his thoughts and feelings he is. In this story, you see Scott’s fear, his traumatic memories. You see how his determination is sparked by Reed Richards’ example, and that he had the will and the means to act when fate met courage.

I’ll read this one a few times more. You may, too.

 

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