Review by: Eden Zacarias – Comic Revolution Guest Reviewer
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Author: Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman
Genre: Graphic Novel
MSRP: $12.99 US
Rating: T (Ages 13+)
Release Date: Available Now
Could this be one of the best reworked versions of the X-Men?
The retelling of Marvel Comics’ various titles are nothing new whether we’re talking about the Ultimate versions of the Spider-Man mythology or even re-envisioned versions of our favorite mutant team, the X-Men. Yet nothing prepared me for the captivating and brilliantly re-imagined Volume 1 of X-Men Misfits that adds a shoujo spin that actually makes this an inviting title for readers of all genders.
In this version of the X-Men, the story concentrates on High school freshman Kitty Pryde who feels like she doesn’t belong anywhere and even more so in her school where students seem to talk behind her back. The reason, of course, is that Kitty is a mutant (which is seen as a next step in human evolution) with the ability to go through solid objects like a ghost. You can imagine how accidentally going through the wall and into the ladies’ bathroom can get you ostracized by non-mutants that just don’t understand mutation.
When she is asked to go directly home, Kitty think’s she’s in trouble but instead finds her parents chatting with a man named Eric Lehnsherr who represents a special school for mutants called Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. There Kitty could feel more comfortable being around other mutants her age who are learning to understand what it is to be a mutant as well as control their individual “gift” in a safe setting. It’s an offer that intrigues Kitty to the point that she accepts the invitation.
What she finds in Xavier’s School is a mansion filled with hot boys and – to her shocking surprise – she seems to be the only girl on campus. Never mind the fact that her guide is a cute-but-cold Bobby Drake (better known as Iceman) who is possibly the only guy in the mansion that doesn’t care that she’s the only girl here and forget the fact that the headmaster is a powerful telepath who can read her mind … this place is making her feel like more of an outsider.
Kitty quickly meets the members of a clique known as the Hellfire Club that is composed of boys who are even hotter than the ones who already met around school. She is invited to join by none other than a gorgeous winged boy called Angel who introduces her to Forge, Havok, Longshot, Quicksilver and the handsome Pyro. These boys quickly sweep Kitty off her feet and Pyro begins to romance the girl who has never even had a boyfriend.
Longtime X-Men fans will recognize a number of favorites scattered throughout the volume such as Scott Summers AKA Cyclops – who is a student in this series rather than a teacher – as well as a few others like Fred Dukes (Blob), Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler), Jamie Madrox (Multiple Man) and even Remy LeBeau (Gambit). We even get to see a cute version of Beast who is one of the professors in the school as Kitty slowly becomes to accept not only her abilities but also the fact that she’s a mutant. Having been afraid of things like giant staircases as well as having a valid fear of an airplane flight (for fear of accidentally phasing through the plane and straight to her death), she finds that training is helping her even control her powers.
In the meantime, she finds her romance with Pyro become less and less pleasant as she even tries to avoid him. It’s Bobby who she really can’t stop turning to despite the fact that the boy doesn’t even seem to acknowledge her existence. On a school field trip to New York City, however, an incident with anti-mutant activists shows Kitty Pyro’s true colors as he and Havok cause an incident that quickly gets out of hand. Soon, the incident has Scott going up against his brother and Iceman battle Pyro with Kitty caught in the middle.
I can go on but it would be spoiling the story and if you’re a fan of X-Men or like a different kind of shoujo manga than X-Men Misfits is a series you should really check out. With great art and a wonderfully written script, this first volume isn’t afraid to try something different with Marvel’s popular mutant team. I cannot wait for Volume 2 with the promise of new girls joining the school but mostly I can’t wait to see what other interesting twists this series has in store for us.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Feeling like she doesn’t belong thanks to her mutant ability to phase through solid objects, Kitty Pryde gets an invitation to a special school for mutants she just can’t refuse. Unfortunately, the Xavier’s School is filled with hot boys and she’s the only girl at the school. When she meets and falls for the hotheaded Pyro, the romance isn’t how she pictured her first love to be like when Pyro shows his true colors.
ANZU brings her own unique style to the table and makes it work in ways that should surprise even hardcore Marvel Comic fans. Yes, the boys at Xavier’s School look hot but Kitty steals the show each time she goes all kitten-like.
X-Men Misfits is not only an interesting new take on the X-Men but it’s also one creative and charming shoujo manga that should please fans and non-fans of Marvel’s mightiest mutants. On top of that, the story is wonderfully crafted and the art is refreshingly original so giving this one a try is definitely not a bad idea if you’re looking for a shoujo manga that’s different.