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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
I really think that this is one of the most under appreciated of all the X-Men books. For those that don't know, New X-Men: Academy X is a continuation of Marvel's New Mutants series that premiered in 2003. It was relaunched as New X-Men: Academy X so it could be a part of the big X-Men reload event. The writers of New X-Men: Academy X do a good job of keeping the series accessible to readers who had not read New Mutants, but I would still suggest you do anyway. I think a TPB collecting the first half of that series is scheduled to come out soon.

Basically, the series, as the title implies, is about a group of mutant students who are being taught by the X-Men. All of the students in the main cast are interesting characters. The main storyline of this TPB involves the students at the school being split into different squads and competing with each other. Added drama involves a student who is being hunted by the authorities. His predicament causes a lot of different reactions among the students.

This is a really great series. If you are a fan of the X-Men, or were intrigued by the scenes with the mutant students during the X-Men films, then I think you will enjoy this series. I know I am.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
New X-Men: Academy X Vol. 1 - Choosing Sides collects New X-Men: Academy X issues 1 through 6.

Note: if you're interested in following the entire New X-Men story arcs (the ones that started in 2004, not the earlier Grant Morrison 'New X-men' arcs that started in 2001), you need to start with the New Mutants Vol. 1: Back to School collection which has New Mutants (2nd series) issues 1 through 6, and then read the individual New Mutants (2nd series) issues 7 through 13, which were never published as a collection. New X-Men: Academy X Vol. 1 - Choosing Sides picks up where things left off shortly after the New Mutants (2nd series) ended with issue 13.

(Yes, it really is that confusing. Google and Wikipedia are your best friends in trying to figure it all out.)

Anyway, the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning has been rebuilt (again) after having been destroyed (again) in the Planet X story arc of the other New X-men series (issues 146 to 156). Professor X is no longer in residence and administration of the school has been passed to co-Headmasters Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Emma Frost, with faculty and staff consisting of Danielle Moonstar (Mirage), Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane), Jean-Paul Baubier (Northstar), Xi'an "Shan" Coy Mahn (Karma) and others.

A new class of students are in their charge. Most of them first appeared in the above-mentioned New Mutants series, but a few new ones have been added. For training purposes, Cyclops and Frost divide the students up into squads, with each squad having a faculty adviser. Most of the plot in the stories centers around two rival squads

...Dani's New Mutants:
David Alleyne (Prodigy)
Sofia Mantega (Wind Dancer)
Noriko Ashida (Surge)
Laurie Collins (Wallflower)
Josh Foley (Elixir)
Kevin Ford (Wither)

...and Emma Frost's Hellions
Julian Keller (Hellion)
Cesily Kincaid (Mercury)
Santo Vaccarro (Rockslide)
Brian Cruz (Tag)
Jay Guthrie (Icarus)
Sooraya Qadir (Dust)

The two main stories involve the above squads being pitted against each other in intramural competition, and Kevin being wanted by the authorities for the death of his father. There are also a number of sub-plots, including Elixir and Rahne having a prohibited student/teacher affair, conflicts over leadership within the New Mutants, and conflicts and angst over relationships among a number of individual students.

The writing is okay but somewhat predictable and not particularly memorable. The art is a mixed bag. The coloring is excellent, very vivid and eye-catching, but while the drawing is better in terms of detail and overall consistency of style, there is still an annoying problem with the inconsistent way character's faces are drawn, such that the faces can vary dramatically in appearance over the course of a few pages. There's also a problem that the characters often seem "posed" in several panels, like they're consciously posing for a photo layout in GQ or Playboy, which really jolts you out of the story. That and the fact that once again the most common female mutation appears to be having boobs two sizes larger than average.

The real value of this collection is that it does track the history of these characters and show you how they ultimately became the characters they were in later issues and other story arcs.

Recommended for anyone who likes the New X-Men characters and/or story arcs and wants to follow them from the beginning.
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on June 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is the graphic novel I've been waiting for. I love the X-Men but especially love stories that take place in the institute and center around every day life and drama (which is anything but ordinary) for the mutants. This also helped me hook high school and middle school kids on X-Men (If you ever volunteer to read at a school, come prepared with graphic novels!).
If you like this, I would also recommend District X. While it doesn't take place at the institute, it does focus on the lives of mutants as they live their lives. You see the action from the viewpoint of a cop working in District X, which is the mutant area of the city.
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on April 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I really like this book. unlike other x-books it provides the reader with a new set of young characters and really flushes them out slowly. This should have been how people should have felt when reading the original x-men stories (I never read them so I wouldn't know). The characters are interesting and you eventually care for them. Even though the team (and the book) is eventually disbanded many of the characters bleed into other books, like the character Elixir in X-force. But I hope some become more important in the future.

It's always great to follow characters from the beginning and this is a good example.
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13 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
While the primary X-team got reloaded into the high-profile Astonishing X-Men, DeFilippis and Weir had to trade in their New Mutants title for a previously-used model, New X-Men, forced to take a crowbar to their storyline and cram in plot elements that completely threw off the dynamic they'd lovingly established over the previous 12 months. And in the first six issues of this reloaded series, they got three more artists to work with, not to mention five of the most trite, uninspired covers on the stands any given month. (Issue #3's cover was decent.)

This opening story arc, Choosing Sides, begins by explaining everything that's changed at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, with Cyclops and the apparently reformed Emma Frost serving as the new headmasters of the school; a cursory reintroduction of the New Mutants that reduces each of them to standard team book stereotypes; and, presents their first adventure as a team in the Danger Room. Standard stuff for a first issue, but even accepting that as a necessary evil, there's something missing from the overall package.

That spark of sincerity that made DeFilippis and Weir's short-lived New Mutants run work so well is clearly dulled, as if the corporate-mandated reload as a "team book" sucked the joy from it for them and they're now going through the motions. In issue #2, you get a sense that they're determined to work in some of the more interesting themes that were hinted at before the reload, but in the structured confines of an official "team book," they come off feeling forced and insincere. ie: The prerequisite hothead, and hottie, Noriko, is given an Afghanistanian roommate, Sooraya, complete with burqua and traditional beliefs, and they clash for a couple of panels of simplistic rhetoric. You get the impression that there was something left on the cutting room floor; that pre-reload, this two-page encounter would have been a primary sub-plot that would weave it's way through the series as they explored the ever-present subtext of mutants as minorities. Instead, it goes no further, Sooraya ends up being on the rival squad mentored by Emma Frost, code-named the Hellions, and it all smacks of a cookie-cutter editorial plan being handed down from on high.

By the arc's drawn-out conclusion in issue #6, the Hellions and the New Mutants go head-to-head, a couple of team members switch sides, and the whole thing starts to feel like Saved By The Bell: The Superhero Years.

The New Mutants, and DeFilippis and Weir, deserve better than this.
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on January 10, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
this book was awesome, I loved it so much I got the entire series. lots of new characters and great story.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Before Marvel's big X-Men: ReLoad event, which began in the wake of Grant Morrison's departure from his prolific run on New X-Men, there was a little known X-book called New Mutants. Unlike the original New Mutants book that helped catapault Rob Liefeld to fame years ago, the modern New Mutants featured a young group of mutants training to become the next generation of X-Men. Kind of similar to Generation X, but with more character driven stories. With the X-Men: ReLoad event, New Mutants got canned, and replaced with New X-Men: Academy X, with writer Nunzio Defilippis and artist Christina Weir still at the helm. However, from the opening page on, Academy X is more alike the militant mutant books of the 90's, and you can tell that Defilippis really didn't have much say over what direction the book would go in now. It's a shame that New Mutants, just like Peter Milligan's brilliant X-Statix, both got the axe, and Marvel has replaced both with books like this and the current relaunch of X-Force with Rob Liefeld himself at the helm. All in all, Academy X is almost exactly like the X-books from the mid to late 90's on that turned me off of Marvel, and hopefully not every X-book will follow in this direction.
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