Graphic Novel Review: Amazing X-Men: World War Wendigos

Amazing X-Men: World War Wendigo

Amazing X-Men: World War Wendigo - Credit: Archant

The mutant misfits clash with Canadian cannibals...

(Panini Books)

Hated and feared by humanity, torn apart by internal divisions, barely surviving in the wake of endless tragedies, it’s little wonder that the traditional tone of X-Men series is what used to be described as “grim and gritty”. Thankfully, the occasional exception aside, things have changed in recent years, with many mutant titles now daring to include humour and fun – shock, horror!

This fresh approach is certainly true for the Amazing X-Men book, which has a much more irreverent tone than you might expect, coupled with a focus on action and adventure alongside the usual mutant mayhem.

In many ways, it’s a natural successor to the original run of the All-New, All-Different X-Men back in the 1970s, before then-writer Chris Claremont injected the series with a massive dose of angst. The cast of characters might find themselves facing insurmountable odds and certain doom, but they are obviously enjoying themselves in the process.

There are two different stories in this volume, by totally different creative teams, but it’s to their credit that the same tone is maintained throughout, even when things look dangerously bleak.

A nostalgic excuse to reunite the cast of 1980s cartoon show Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends could have ended up as a throwaway tale of little substance, but it’s actually pretty entertaining, with some lovely character touches.

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The main story finds the X-Men teaming up with Canadian superheroes Alpha Flight to stop a mass outbreak of the cannibalistic beasts known as the Wendigo, initially the result of a small town unwittingly ingesting human flesh which contaminated a meat processing plant.

With the Avengers desperately holding the line at the US-Canadian border while trying to evacuate uncontaminated citizens, it’s up to the X-Men and Alphans to save Canada from being consumed by the Wendigo curse…

There are many elements in this narrative which draw on the long-cancelled Alpha Flight series, including the relationships between the two teams and the mystical Great Beasts who lurk in the darkest corners of Canadian mythology, but writers Craig Kyle and Chris Yost ensure nobody is left scrabbling for Wikipedia in order to understand what’s going on.