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X-Men: The Movie

featuring Joe Pruett, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Jay Faerber and Ralph Macchio

(Art by Mark Texeira, Jimmy Palmiotti, Alan Evans, Rob Nikolakakis, Karl Waller, Mark McKenna, Anthony Williams and Andy Lanning)

A tie-in to the first X-Men movie from the year 2000, including three prequel stories based on Magneto, Rogue and Wolverine, as well as an adaptation of the movie itself.

It's hard to cast your mind back to the comic book situation of the (distant future) Year 2000.  The 90s had been a weird and often bad time for comics themselves, superhero movies had long-since lost any credibility (thanks Joel Schumacher) and comic book fans were still treated as anorak-wearing losers by the general population.  Then along came Joss Whedon's 'X-Men' and suddenly it was possible to make a superhero that took itself seriously and still was a mainstream success.  Unfortunately, as we see in this book, the writers of actual comic books didn't quite know what to do with this new situation.

I have no idea who this book is aimed at.  If it's fans of the movie, then they'll be very disappointed.  The prequel stories do not tie-in tonally with the film at all, for example Rogue's story which interrupts her movie background of 'confused teen on the run' to throw in a capture by evil mutants who put her in a cell and, inexplicably, make her wear a sexy swimsuit at the same time.  The prequels also look particularly silly narratively in hindsight now that later X-Men films have explored some of the same territory.  The adaptation of the movie at the tail end of the book is simply a less coherent, less engaging rehashing of some (not all) of the movie's significant plot points.  It's worst crime is totally failing to convey the on-screen charisma of the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Patrick Stewart and (not Sir) Hugh Jackman.  It seems clear that this was based off the script and not the film itself and suffers hugely as a result.

If this book was intended for fans of the comic books rather than the movie, then it also fails at that too.  All it does is either offer boring alternate versions of characters or events from the actual X-Men comics or, in some cases, simply retell elements of the original comics but not as well as they were done previously.  Basically, if like me you grew up reading X-Men comics, then you'll be slightly offended by the mangled version we get here.

This book is not all bad.  But it is mostly bad.

2 out of 5