MANGA REVIEW: Reboot: X-Men goes kawaii

X-MEN MISFITS

By Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman Art by Anzu (New York: Del Rey, 2009, 192 pp., $12.99 paperback)

“X-men Misfits” ironically describes itself by its title succinctly. The comic is a misfit in itself within the world of Marvel’s hit X-Men series. Through the frame of a shoujo-manga artist, this original English manga was drawn and written for the female teenage crowd that just might not be interested in reading the actual X-Men series due to its high volume of action and gritty manly-world politics Marvel includes in their comic series.

The creators of this offshoot series began by rebooting the world setting to a place where Professor Xavier can stand, Magneto is a dashing fellow with flowing locks, and they are in charge of Xavier’s Academy for Gifted Youngsters — a co-ed school for mutants with only one girl in the student population. The story focuses on Kitty Pride, the said single female student at the institution, amid boys with looks that are as deadly as their mutant powers.

Follow along, as Kitty leaves the comforts of her home to become the source of sexual tension and affection of all the popular boys, desperate for female companionship at the school. Pyro ignites her passion for love, and she joins the Hellfire Club on campus, the collection of hot, shirtless boys that try to emulate every Adonis stereotype available to be a good-looking bad boy. But look out Kitty, the other boys are getting jealous!

No, I’m serious.

The series has no problem adhering to the typical elements of a shoujo series. The boys aside, Kitty faces the scary side of teenage adolescence as she faces not only her mutant powers, but the constant onslaught of flirtatious male attention that is every high school girl’s fantasy. Her flustered inner emotions are revealed through super-deformed chibi-kitty forms that show off bewilderment and excitation.

Actually, to a newcomer of the X-Men universe, one might confuse Kitty’s mutant superpower with turning into an adorable cat-human hybrid. There certainly are more scenes of her turning into one rather than of her using her actual power of phasing through walls.

The most unfortunate facet of this two-part series, however, is that it was cut short. The first volume suffered lackluster sales, leaving fans who did buy the first volume, hanging. Because of this, this story will forever remain incomplete, unless some miraculous resurgence of sales convinces Del Rey to reinstate the production schedule for the next volume…

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