X-Treme X-Men has sneakily established itself as one of my favourite X-books. As much as the name makes me twitch from dash and X overload, Greg Pak has written these secondary, alternate dimension characters so well that they’ve become some of the best new additions to the Marvel universe. Dazzler is the only character from the main X-series’ dimension, but she definitely falls into the secondary character category; her powers are written inconsistently in the past and appear near useless at times. Pak does not let this singing sensation down, and constantly finds helpful and dangerous ways for her to assist her teammates. It’s a great example of how a little effort and thought can make one mutants’ seemingly useless abilities into a very precise weapon. The same goes for the detail he’s put into newcomers James Howlett, Kurt Waggoner (aka. kid Nightcrawler) and to a lesser extent, Charles Xavier’s head in a bottle.
Issue #6 starts off exploring Kurt’s backstory and it is suitably heartbreaking. Losing his parents and his entire planet during a robot uprising, Kurt barely managed to escape with his life and his Spider-Man lunchbox. During his travels with the new X-Treme X-Men he catches a glimpse of his home planet and instinctively jumps towards it. He finds himself back home, reunited with the shattered photo of his parents, but unfortunately his planet is no better off than when he left it. He’s quickly captured and the action jumps back to the rest of the team who's landed on a different planet. With dinosaurs. Gosh, do I love the possibilities of parallel worlds. Dazzler insists that Charles teleports them to wherever Kurt ran off to, while James dispatches dinosaurs in the background.
I love this alternate reality version of Logan. He’s unique enough to not just be Wolverine v2.0 but he has better dialogue and more iconic moments than Wolvie does in his own book these days. Plus, Pak has decided to explore a parallel dimensional difference previously unexplored with our favourite Canadian superhero. Spoilers ahead: James Howlett is gay. Outed in a very untactful way by Dazzler, it nonetheless turns into a brief but touching moment between them. It’s also an interesting twist to the character. It doesn’t change who he is and has been thus far in the series but it’s a great progressive step forward. I for one am very interested to see how they handle this in future issues.
Charles sends them to Kurt’s dimension but stays back in Dino-ville to continue his mission. The overall story arc that this issue builds on is intriguing, but I’ve already spoiled enough in this review. You’ll have to read it to find out more. On the art side, I find it to be very hit or miss. There’s some great panels that nail the characters and action in a really vibrant way but others seem sloppy at times. Kalman Andrasofszky’s covers are amazing, though, and this issue’s has the best of them all so far. X-Treme X-Men has turned out to be one of the most enjoyable books of the X-Series; an implausible situation for a side series, but, then again, this team seems to be adept at championing the implausible.