Graphic Novel Review: Marvel Platinum: The Definitive X-Men Reloaded

Marvel Platinum: The Definitive X-Men Reloaded

Marvel Platinum: The Definitive X-Men Reloaded - Credit: Archant

The rise of the first mutant, the god-like Apocalypse, leaves the X-Men’s lives forever changed...

(Panini Books)

The latest X-Men movie, Age of Apocalypse, focuses on one of the break-out Marvel supervillains of the past 30 years, a near-immortal being said to be the world’s original mutant, whose origins date back 5,000 years to ancient Egypt, when he was worshipped as the god En Sabah Nur, aka “The First One”.

The movie apparently focuses on Apocalypse’s revival following centuries of hibernation and decision to wipe out humanity, prompting an alliance between Charles Xavier and Raven Darkholme, aka Mystique, and their assembled young X-Men, in a bid to thwart this Armageddon.

That said, you would expect this latest volume in the Marvel Platinum X-Men series to feature more comic stories drawing on the 30-year history of Apocalypse, but although there are a handful featured here, they are by no means alone and are instead accompanied by a selection of other X-Men issues.

The first X-Men and Avengers crossover from the 1960s is an unusual beast to include, especially as the fact that the movie incarnations of both teams are unlikely to ever meet because they are produced by different studios, but it’s a decent enough tale from some of the period’s leading creative talents.

The seminal Uncanny X-Men #137 (1980), which sees the end of the long-running and much-collected Dark Phoenix Saga, marking the apparent death of original X-Man Jean Grey, is next up, as is the 1986 storyline which leads to her resurrection.

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Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) portrays Jean in the new movie, which might be why the character features in such a large chunk of this volume, but her rebirth also ties in with the reuniting of the original X-Men as the new team X-Factor and their eventual clash with Apocalypse for the first time, issues also included here.

The last issue of the epic reality-warping Age of Apocalypse storyline, which sees En Sabah Nur conquer a drastically different Earth after Charles Xavier’s assassination by a time-traveller before he founded the X-Men, will make very little sense to anyone who hasn’t read the full narrative. Yes, it does feature Apocalypse, but why not just reprint the whole series instead of just including the denouement?

The other two issues collected, #98 and #186 of the second X-Men series, are also random snatches from ongoing stories, and seem to be included here just because they also include appearances by “The First One” which have elements in common with the forthcoming film.

Perhaps not one of the strongest Marvel Platinum books because of the disparate nature of some of the issues included here, this volume still boasts an exceptional array of creative talent including Roy Thomas, Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Louise Simpson, Mark Waid, Peter Milligan, John Buscema, Jackson Guice, Walt Simonson and Alan Davis, and with a line-up like that you really can’t go that wrong.