By: Christopher Yost (writer), Paco Medina, Dalibor Talajic (pencillers), Dalibor Talajic, Juan Vlasco (inkers), Marte Gracia and Wil Quintana (colorists)

The Story: “First to Last, Part 4” opens up more of the past of the Evolutionaries (2.7M years ago) and of the original X-Men in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants era. And in the present, for good measure, the X-Men are getting their tails kicked.

What’s Good: We’re in high second act here. The action and the revelations are hitting quickly. Yost is doing one of the more difficult things in serial storytelling, which is to successfully pull off a big retcon by stitching new events and plots into the old X-Men tapestry without tearing or unbalancing anything. Some places this has been done well have been Deadly Genesis and Uncanny X-Men First Class (see WCBR’s coverage). As things are going, I would certainly put “First to Last” up there with those well-done retcons. The revelations coming from two time periods is pretty cool. I’m wondering if we’re going to see the Eternals as part of this and what made Phaestus set in motion this genocide tool. Yost makes the present more tense with things really going downhill (“We need Cyclops!” and “Cyclops, what did you do?”). What other hidden sins (on top of creating the X-Force death squad) does Cyclops have in his closet?

Artwise, I was very pleased. The juxtaposition of Medina’s and Talajic’s styles for the time periods was awesome and both the Evolutionaries and Magento in the past and present were artistic scene-stealers. Medina and Talajic imbued both with such restrained menace and danger that I kept waiting for the shoe to drop. And the poses and expressions of Magento and the Brotherhood in the past were excellent. I’m a full-on fan of the artwork.

What’s Not So Good: X-Men #14 was a great issue. The only moment of weakness I felt was when Angel said they’re getting beaten bad and that they need Cyclops and a plan. I know Cyclops is a tactical and strategic genius, but the X-Men have a deep pool of talent and I felt there was no reason why Wolverine or Storm (both past leaders of the X-Men, for brief or long periods) couldn’t have played general for a bit. The plea for Cyclops made Cyclops look larger, but only at the cost of slightly diminishing the others. Small point, but it stuck with me.

Conclusion: Yost and his art team are producing one of the best retcons I’ve seen. Tune in for awesomeness and pick up this series.

Grade: A-

-DS Arsenault

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