The X-MEN have been experiencing a renaissance since their return to monthly titles. If the theme of X-MEN: GOLD has been that “the more things change, the more they stay the same”, the theme of X-MEN: BLUE is that “everything old is new again.”

It’s taken me awhile to warm up to the Blue Team of time displaced original X-Men. In the hands of writer Cullen Bunn the team feels like its growing organically and not just repeating comic history in a gimmicky fashion. Some changes are cosmetic, like the Angel’s fiery “cosmic” wings or Iceman’s ability to grow to Hulk like proportions, while others have lasting implications like Jean moving into the team leadership role or the Beast’s darker persona and interest in sorcery instead of science. And then of course there’s Jimmy Hudson, son of the alternate “Ultimate” universe’s Wolverine, who’s doing his best to prove he’s not the “best there is at what he does”, like his father.

Tying in with the SECRET EMPIRE event, X-MEN: BLUE #8 finds Beast, Angel, Iceman and Cyclops taken hostage to the mutant sanctuary of New Tian in Hydra Occupied America. After being left for dead, Jean and Jimmy plan a rescue attempt and get some surprising assistance from the team’s Blackbird X-Jet itself. Fan’s of Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men should get a kick out of this twist.

There have been a few different art teams on this series so far and for the most part they’ve all been “X-ceptional”, and Cory Smith and Joey Vazquez’ work just might be the best so far. The double page spread that involves a projected image of a classic X-Men line up should be a poster.

The majority of this issue is spent getting the cast all together in one location, and I’m hoping in future instalments we’ll get to see some character exchanges between the older and younger versions of these teams, seeing as the older Beast, Archangel and Cyclops brother Havok have sided with the Hellfire Club and made an uneasy peace with Captain America’s Hydra forces. Bring on the main event on New Tian!

STORY- 5/5
ART- 5/5

Review by J.P. Harvey

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