Taking its cue from X-Men First Class (2011), The First X-Men attempts to fill in the backstory of the first mutants to attempt to help other mutants as a prequel of sorts to X-Men (1963) #1. Of course, this is not the cinematic X-universe but the Marvel U one so, also of course, Logan/Wolverine and Creed/Sabertooth are the main guys, not Xavier and Magneto. While helping out an “old war buddy,” Logan comes across a young mutant who can’t control his powers and nearly kills Logan and himself while apparently self-destructing. Noticing that there are “more and more like us showin’ up (i.e. mutants). Kids most of ‘em. Odds are they’ll end up…lab rats, cut open to see what makes them work," Logan decides that "...these kids need someone on their side. Someone like them. Figure that’s me.” Of course, Logan wants Sabertooth to help him and, of course, Sabertooth wants to know what’s in it for him… After Logan agrees to pay him for his help, the two of them set out on a global mission to find and help other young mutants. Along the way they make quite an impression on a certain Charles Xavier…
So Logan, in his pre-Wolverine days (meaning pre-adamantium skeleton and Weapon X days), had an idea similar to what Charles Xavier had, but had a lot less money, influence, and power to enact it. It’s a dream that Logan is passionate about though. Passionate enough that he influences Charles Xavier to begin his quest. It’s a pretty cool idea and retroactively lends even more credence to Logan’s recent desire to open The Jean Grey School as a successor to Xavier’s Institute. It also elevates Logan near to Xavier’s level in his importance to mutant- and human-kind. It seems a little sacrilegious to put Logan above Xavier, at least at the outset of the X-mythos (Xavier really doesn’t want anything to do with being a mutant at this point), especially for anyone who’s followed Logan/Wolverine since his debut, but I really like that Logan/Wolverine has become such a dynamic character and is no longer just a mindlessly violent one.
Series artist Neal Adams’ work has always been a little less to my liking than most that of most artists who’ve drawn the X-Men over the years. It always seemed to me to be a bit out of proportion while having an unfinished quality to it. Some of his panels are beautiful while others seem to be a bit of a hastily arranged mess. Little inconsistencies in his work also bother me. In one panel Logan has what appears to be three inch incisors while in the next he doesn’t. I do like how he lays out his panels though. I always have. He gives his readers a excellent mix of several story advancing small ones and smartly placed splash pages.
Overall, The First X-Men should remain canon after the Marvel NOW! changes that are immanent, and I certainly hope so. I really like the idea that Logan was very much a good guy in the early goings before Weapon X and all. It reinforces his current position as prime protector and educator of mutant children.