I read all 31 (including #0) issues of John Byrne's X-Men over the weekend, almost accidentally.

I bought the first volume of the Premiere Collection hardcover some time ago, and the second on shipped last week. I was waiting for all three, but I started flipping through and got carried away. I read both volumes, then had to resort to longboxes to finish it off. I've read it all before, parts of it more than once, but this is the first time I've read it all the way through in a couple of sittings. The introductions to the collection and the editorial material in the original issues tell the same story: he's got about 20 more issues worth of stories to tell in the next arc, which will likely (almost "certainly" I would say now) start with a new number one. Perhaps it's too soon to have heard since the third and final hardcover collection hasn't even been solicited yet, but has anyone heard of plans to continue/conclude this series?

One other thing while I'm here... I don't usually comment on the size of a particular collection, but volume two is much bigger than volume one (which is in turn somewhat larger than a standard archive or masterworks edition). Whassup wit' dat? Why not make 'em the same size? (Unless volume three is going to be bigger still...?)

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Judging byt the preview running in this month's IDW comics, JBNM might be an EYKIW. Then again, it might not. It likewise looks like it might be a great jumping on point for new readers. I assume John Byrne knows enough to make it one.

I wasn’t ignoring you, John. It was just that, with the release of the actual JBNM #1 so near, I thought I’d wait until I actually read the whole thing. [Spoilers here; I’m going to discuss specific plot points of issue #1.] I’m still not entirely sure what’s going on at this point, but that’s okay; we’re not supposed to yet. The feature character in issue #1 is Jasmine, who, from her point of view, was awakened from the “Greenery” into what she thought was the real world, was awakened again to find out what she thought was real was a lie, only to find out that the third reality was a lie. All that happened in volume one.

In volume two she awakens yet again, only to discover Aldus Hilltop is an ally, Agent Murcheson is now a wheelchair-bound doctor, and that Nathan, Danny and the others don’t necessarily like her very much. Much of the rest of the issue is a recap of what she remembers, basically the entire previous series, which is not what the others remember. Her memories extend a bit past the end of the first series, however, and explain where the Next Man have been… or where Jasmine thinks they’ve been… for the last 12 years. Maybe.

I don’t think one needs to be at all familiar with the previous series in order to enjoy this one, and I would recommend it to new and returning fans alike. The last page hints at the direction this new series is to take. I’m not certain how the two series fit together, but I am definitely eager to find out!

This new issue was, for me, the worst kind of info-dump comic.  And I really believe Byrne has no humor bone left in his body.

Well, Bill, JBNM has been off the racks for a dozen years. the "info dump" is no less than I would have expected given that many readers are going to be wholly unfamiliar with the title. I think Bynre did a good job of incorporating 30-some issues of story into a single issue. IOW, I think it's the "best kind of info dump comic." :)

What do you mean that Byrne has no humor bone left in his body?

 

[SPOILERS]

 

I found the book really interesting; Jasmine does seem to be the central character, and it does seem to recap thirty issues of JBNM as well as could be done without taking over the book (or without doing a thirty issue recap... :)

 

Jeff oE-J, I disagree with you on one point; the other Next Men only seem to dislike Jasmine in one sequence, not through the entire thing.  Otherwise, they seem pretty concerned about her lack of grasp of "reality."

 

Once again, Byrne misses one of the easiest "reality checks" that I know of, though.  If I'm Jasmine, and I'm not sure what is going on or where I am... the first thing I do is test my powers.  If they're working... then everyone who says they're not is lying, or an illusion, or a conspiracy, etc.  That's not how he tells his stories, and I understand that... but if I were Clark Kent, trying to be convinced if I were or weren't Superman, I'd try flying*, or poking myself with a knife.

 

However, Byrne's story telling is often far out there, risk-taking, and usually a good pay off for the investment by the reader; I see no reason to distrust him this time, and I am greatly looking forward to this series (unless they have to cancel it.)

 

ELS

 

*No, you jackwagons, I would NOT test my flying by JUMPING OFF A TWELVE STORY BUILDING!  Why the hell is that always the test?  I would test it by going to a swimming pool, getting up on the diving board, taking a running start, and aiming to miss the ground/water.  If I can fly, it works.  If I can't fly, the worst that happens is I fall into a swimming pool... not fall three hundred feet and break every bone in my body.

NEXT MEN ISSUE #2: [SPOILERS]The main characters are displaced in time and there are some truly disturbing scenes with Toni Murcheson, who has arrived in the Old South but she thinks she’s in the midst of a Civil War reenactment. Jasmine arrives in 16th century England with the Earl of Oxford, and Nathan has arrived in WWII and is captured by Nazi soldiers. Seeing his eyes and assuming him to be a product of medical experimentation, the German officer takes him to a nearby concentration camp were such experiments are being conducted. Ushered into an examination room, Nathan apparently recognizes one of the Doctors but readers are not shown who it is.
ISSUE #3: I won’t try to guess where Byrne is going, but I’m completely captivated by this story. But now I notice this title is solicited in Previews as a 12-issue limited series. Wasn’t it supposed to be ongoing? Or was I just not paying attention. This issue’s cliffhanger stops just short of the big reveal. (Could the cover be a hint?)
I read somewhere last week that Byrne has said that it'll take between 12 and 20 issues for him to wrap the story up.
I, also, don't know where it is going but I'm very much enjoying the ride.
ISSUE #4: SPOILERS - In the present day, a malfunction of the Lexington Collider on Long Island leaves a hole nine miles deep, 18 miles in diameter and 30 miles in circumference. Bethany was lost in a pool of molten lava, where she remained buried, but conscious, for 238 years. Last month’s cliffhanger remains unrevealed as Byrne works toward the same point from point of view, but my guess is still on the table.
I'm losing my enthusiasm rather quickly. If I weren't already a Next Men fan then I'd drop the title now because not only is this series is not new-reader-friendly, it's barely old-reader-friendly. So far, we don't have any idea what, if anything, is "reality" for the characters and what is lies. If there aren't concrete answers next issue, I'm done.
I'm sorry to hear that. I think JBNM has always been one of those series which "reads" better in a single sitting but suffers month-to-month and try to keep that in mind as I read. (Echo would be another example.) I don't give every series this kind of leeway, but I've come to trust Byrne (and Terry Moore, for that matter). I want to see how it all fits together, and, in this case, I think it does fit together. See you here next month.

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