This article was originally published at Comics Bulletin on August 28, 2016.
Extraordinary X-Men #13 (Marvel Comics)
Jeff Lemire (A) Victor Ibanez (C) Jay David Ramos (L) Joe Caramagna
You describe something as a carbon copy because it’s close to the original, but not completely there, small flecks are missing. How many times can you carbon copy something before it loses the essence of the original?Extraordinary X-Men #13 could be described as a carbon copy of Chris Claremont’s X-Men, but that would be misleading. This comic is at least one step removed from the crucial point in which whatever makes a thing that thing has been lost. It’s a soulless copy of what was once a charming superhero team book.
The X-Men in these pages are familiar characters to many, but even considering their ample history, they only have shadows of personalities. These men and women do not so much make decisions as they move onto the next part of the plot assigned to them. The closest any of them comes to revealing who they are is stating it, just as Nightcrawler and Magick dialogue their way through internal conflicts. No matter how much they may desire to tell us what they think, none of it is ever impactful as it cannot be seen or felt on the page.
Most designs in Extraordinary X-Men #13 rely on pastiche, with alternate universe villains based in unsurprising and recognizable tropes. Occasionally the work rises above this like in a spread of teleportation circles leading through an array of dimensions. It does not take long for the focus to return to tired standbys, familiar bits like a point of view that appears ready to perform a colonoscopy on a female villain (twice). None of the action sequences, much less the dramatic ones, inspire any emotion though. They are functional, but fail to deliver much of anything beyond comprehension with few exceptions.
Somehow Extraordinary X-Men #13 has transformed the story of a superpowered, adoptive family hopping across dimensions and fighting apocalyptic futures into something entirely stale. There’s not a new idea or fresh visual to be found in these pages. While some moments are well-rendered, it’s a lacquer that cannot cover the rotted interior for more than a moment. While this issue may be technically well assembled, it is a hollow rendering of something comics readers enjoyed decades ago.
— Chase Magnett