The already well-established X-Men franchise of books (and films) gets a somewhat peculiar makeover in the first of a new series designed for the middle grade/13+ crowd. “Don’t fix what ain’t broke,” comes to mind. But that might be an old-age reaction …
In this latest incarnation, Kitty Pryde goes home to find a mysterious stranger speaking with her parents (always a warning) about some of the troubles she’s had at school – walking through walls isn’t so bad, but she also falls through the ceilings and stairs at the most inopportune moments. The stranger arranges for her to be sent to the luxurious Xavier’s Academy for Gifted Youngsters where she’s the only girl student (!), which, of course, makes her popular beyond her dreams – except with cold Bobby who won’t even look her way. Kitty joins the exclusive bad-boy Hellfire Club, although she seems to be the only conscientious student at Xavier. As she learns to control and develop her powers, Kitty must comes to terms with who she is and who she can and will be. Oh, all that teenage angst. A school trip to NYC turns ugly and the head of school, Mr. X himself, is gravely injured. Can the school go on without him? Stay tuned for the next volume (and many more to follow, for sure).
So the story about girl power is all great. But that Kitty has to immediately attach herself to a boy as a sign of self-worth (she has to text his ‘hot’ picture back to her sisters at home as proof) is certainly bothersome. That she longs for a boy who woefully ignores her doesn’t bode well for her independence. And the pictures … maybe my eyesight is going, but I had quite the time figuring out who’s who. In this highly-stylized latest version, everyone just … well … looked too much alike.
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult