Marvel Comics Review – New X-Men Vol 4: Riot at Xavier’s

Publication: 2003X-Men comics reading

Writer: Grant Morrison

Odin’s Judgment:

Quality: 4.3 out of 5

Importance: 4.7 out of 5

Recommended Reading For: Anybody who just finished reading New X-Men Vol 1 through Vol 3.

Since Odin’s Thunderbolts is still very much in its infancy (and what a potent little infant it is!), it seems important to me to continually define, redefine, and explain what exactly it is I hope to do here and how I hope to do it. In short, Odin’s Thunderbolts was conceived out of my strong urge to consume the entire Marvel Universe. Like Galactus, I hungered and the most frequent problem I faced was where to find the best food source. I knew all these amazing Marvel storylines and events where out there…  I just didn’t see them compiled into one easy-to-use, spoiler-free, hyphen-overdosing guide.

And that’s what OTB promises to be. The definitive comic book reading order guide for relative newcomers to the Marvel Universe with serious, Galactus-sized appetites. It’s possible you already knew all this, though. My tagline does read “comic book reading order guide.” And where exactly is that located, you may ask?

Now we’ve come to the purpose of this explanation – as of yet, Odin’s Thunderbolts isn’t really much of a guide. And, frankly, it won’t be for a substantial period of time. You see, I am still very much in the process of consuming major Marvel storylines and events myself. I am not an all-knowing expert. Just a dedicated fan who wants to share everything I learn about the Marvel reading process as I go. It should be very easy for readers to know exactly which graphic novels and trade collections to pick up so that they can read the entirety of the Marvel Universe like one long, continuous, interconnected novel. OTB aims to demolish the degrees of separation between connected Marvel storylines.

And this will take time.

Again, for the foreseeable future, OTB is a work-in-progress, developing further as I make my way through the Marvel universe in the new millennium (admittedly about as new as Brittney Spears or iPods at this point, but I haven’t heard a better term I like).

So, if you wind up here at OTB and are disappointed to find only a few scattered reviews of older comic book collections, I promise they are leading to something grander. Take the time to subscribe to OTB and the payoff, when it hits, will be a complete and helpful comic book reading guide.

As you may have guessed by now, it all starts here with the New X-Men!

THIS IS A SPOILER FREE BLOG! I WOULD HATE FOR YOU TO CONTINUE READING IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS IN THIS SERIES!!! UNLESS YOU REALLY, REALLY WANT TO! IN WHICH CASE, I AM NOT YOUR BOSS (probably)!!!!!

The fourth installment in Grant Morrison’s excellent re-imagining of the X-Men separates itself from the cosmic magnitude of the first three volumes, and instead turns the lens inwards onto the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. The payoff is enormous.

While New X-Men Vol 3: New Worlds found Morrison and company overextending their explosive creativity to the point of confusion, New X-Men Vol 4: Riot at Xavier’s benefits greatly from a singular focus. The point of that focus comes from within the X-Mansion, although from a different source than most X-Men comics have prepared us for.

You see, although an undeniably high proportion of X-Men stories occur in the Mansion, it’s often easy to forget that the Mansion doubles as a school for mutants. Even when this fact is called to attention – the occasional Professor Grey or mention of classes – it’s usually just a peripheral bonus. More often than not, there just happen to be young mutants running around the mansion all the time. We rarely, if ever, get a glimpse into what life is like for them.

This shift in perspective is the biggest strength of New X-Men Vol 4: Riot at Xavier’s. For most of the collection, we’re not in Professior Xavier’s head, we’re not hearing Cyclops’s thoughts, and we’re not watching Wolverine snikt his way through everything in sight. Instead, we’re in the world of a young and brilliant mutant-student named Quentin Quire. The entirety of New X-Men Vol 4: Riot at Xavier’s follows his reactions the recent events of the world around him: The tragedy of Genosha, the horror of the U-Men, and the continued bigotry and fear from non-mutants everywhere.

Compounding Quentin’s struggles to interpret and rationalize the world around him is the coming of Open-Day, the day when the Xavier Insitute for Gifted Youngsters would be opened to both human and mutant students.

The ramifications of Open-Day and Quentin Quire’s decisions are some of the most important to affect the X-Men so far this series. This is definitely a portion of the series you do not want to miss.

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