You’d be hard pressed to find a show that did more for the comic book world than X-Men The Animated Series. This show brought a whole new group of readers into comic shops as they clamored to read about their favorite mutants. Marvel has capitalized on this before as a battle world during Johnathan Hickman’s Secret Wars, as well as a spin off series following the event. This new series focuses on the recent House of X story line that Hickman also wrote. Seeing these events play out in the style of the animated series should please fans of the show and fans of House of X.
One of the biggest challenges that Steve Foxe has to face while writing this series is capturing the feel of the original animated show and blending it with the recent House of X story. Foxe starts us off right in the middle of the big battle between mutants and the sentinels. This is a condensed series, so it’s acceptable, but it does lose some of the ground work and nuance that Hickman did in House of X. Foxe does a great job of giving us the characters that we know and love. Cyclops takes charge, Wolverine is an impulsive wild card and Rogue is sassy. Foxe succeeds in making this series just different enough so we don’t know what is going to happen. There are new characters, like Psylocke. The Five are also different and Foxe uses characters who were present in the animated show. Foxe changes the story enough to give us some surprises and some different elements from the Hickman series.
The pencils by Salva Espin are crucial to this book. He had the task of making this series look like the animated show. Espin succeeds in giving us look that is similar to the cartoon, but still feels modernized. Espin also inserts a little homage to the Dark Phoenix Saga as Scott and Jean have a panel where they are fighting off Sentinels. Espin excels at keeping the look and feel of the show while also updating the design a little. The mutants are wearing new battle outfits that have green on their limbs. Little touches like this show Espin putting a little creative design and style on this series.
The colors by Israel Silva needed to match the color scheme from the animated show perfectly to be effective. Silva accomplishes this task with ease. The colors are slightly modernized and not quite as vibrant, but they do feel familiar. Gorgeous reds and blues dominate the backgrounds as the mutants battle for their lives. Silva makes sure that when a mutant unleashes their power it demands your attention. An optic blast or a kinetic charge light up the page. Silva succeeds in capturing the glory of the cartoon while also changing enough to please modern readers.
Joe Sabino is on letters this issue and he does a phenomenal job. He’s most effective on his constant sound effects. When an explosion happens, there is a large “THOOOM” that is layered on the bottom of the page. Storm blasting several sentinels gives us a transparent “KRAKABOOM” that looks and feels like lightning. I would have liked to see a “ZAP” or two when Cyclops unleashed an optic blast, but Sabino lays so many sound effects down, missing a few isn’t a big gripe.
X-Men ’92 House of XCII is a worthy addition to the X-Men ’92 cannon. Steve Foxe has managed to blend two worlds together to satisfy fans of both stories. The art matches up very well to the show. This series is off to a blazing hot start and is in great hands. X-Men ’92 Hous of XCII is available at a comic shop near you!