X-Men Days of Future Past by Alex Irvine
I would like to thank Julia from Titan for a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review
Publisher – Titan
Price - £8.99
Published – Out Now
NB This is a prose novel based on the graphic novel by Chris Claremont and John Byrne
The future is now!
In a dark and dangerous future, the mutant-hunting machines known as the sentinels rule America with an iron fist. Almost all mutants and superhumans have been exterminated. Only a handful of imprisoned mutants remain to fight against their oppressive robotic overseers! Now Kate Pryde, former X-Man, must travel back in time and warn her present-day teammates of the coming danger – and hopefully prevent their horrible future from ever taking place!
We all want to see the future but what if it’s a bad one and then is the future fixed? In the Marvel Universe we don’t need a Tardis when we have psychic powers and mutants. In Days of Future Past Alex Irvine provides a fun novel exploring a dark future where the X-Men are in single figures while in the present they are up against the Brotherhood of Mutants in a battle where the entire future is on the line.
The story needs a little explanation so stay with me. In a mysterious event in Washington DC a Senator critical of the mutants as well as Professor X and Moira McTaggart are killed. This triggers a rapid mutant back lash and the rise of Sentinels (huge armoured and deadly robots) who over the next twenty years have wiped out mutants and placed North America over a dystopian martial law. The last few heroes from the good old days are Colossus, Kate Pryde, Storm, Magneto and Wolverine with two children of former heroes in support. They hatch a plan to send Kate back to her previous self (when she was 13) to try and persuade the X-Men to try and change the present and save the future.
I really enjoyed Irvine’s approach where we get alternating chapters showing us events I the future and the past. This allows for each to have their own style. In the future scenes the story felt desperate with a background of ruined New York monuments and streets rampaged by gangs and Sentinels. It comes across the last few Mutants have bonded and become a final defence for the world. Interestingly they all refer to each other by actual names such as Logan, Magnus or Ororo. As it’s the future then also anything can happen and here the approach means our heroes can die which when it happens and to whom is shocking and puts the characters final stand really on the line. In the present we get a much more standard x-men story where the team rush to Washington DC to save Senator Kelly but find themselves in a very public battel against the Brotherhood. These scenes have more banter, more costumes and feel slightly more innocent as these are just heroes doing what they think is the best rather than battling for survival. It’s nicely balanced though that we don’t feel that either plot is too predictable.
I really liked Irvine’s ability to flow action and he makes battle scenes flow. That can be battles between two super-strength opponents or battles between the elements. There are interesting combinations of powers and in the finale a very impressive sequence when Magento finally after twenty years gets to unleash his powers on the Sentinels which is operatic and really gives you the feeling of an epic clash jumping off the page. The other thing I loved was the sense of character Irvine makes even the side characters like Senator Kelly come across. I liked Wolverine’s cynical approach clashing with Storm’s more pragmatic leadership and really enjoyed the two versions of Kitty Pryde who swap timelines and their respective reactions to past and future - relief at seeing old friends alive again and terror as seeing the world falling apart.
This was a really fun read and for me really captured the feel of an X-Men adventure plus characters I know more from film than comics. I loved the team dynamics and didn’t feel the loss of artwork impacted the tales. If you’d like a bit more classic x-men adventure in your lives this is a great place to read.