The Uneasy Streets of San Francisco
In an issue that's more a setup for future action than a stunner in its own right, we're reminded of the X-Men's relatively peaceful status in San Francisco and see a major change in Jubilee's life.
Oh, and Wolverine kills some vampires.
Story & Script
There's not much to react to in this middling script from Gischler. He is moving pieces around the chess board to get to future action. The entire issue seems to be positioned just for Cyclop's final words, “We've got ourselves a Dracula problem.”
That's not unusual for the first chapter of an arc, but it leaves an unforgiveably weak first issue of a new flagship title – to enjoy it at all either you dig vampires or you are interested in what's going to happen to Jubilee. Otherwise, it's a flatline.
Gischler is hamstrung by the fact that this new title is meant for casual fans. He doesn't make any deep references (aside from Storm's long-past possession by Dracula), and he can't drop hints that will lead any farther than this arc. There's nothing else here, and he's sticking with the majority of Uncanny's primary cast, none of whom is written especially well.
In the one piece of action, Wolverine picks two flyers on a daytime mission to hunt vamps, which is puzzling. Yeah, Angel is death incarnate, but he probably won't transform with Pixie around – so he'd likely want another hand-to-hand fighter (Psylocke?). Meanwhile, Pixie can teleport, but with one of Wolvie's teen sidekicks bombed by vamp blood would he put another one at risk? Why not bring someone impervious (Colossus? Mercury? Rockslide? Dust?), or even Shadowcat, who is immune to everything in her ghost state. With so many X-Men to choose from it just doesn't make sense.
I have a number of smaller nitpicks. The conceit of a vampire sizzling in the sun equaling a dirty bomb is a fun concept, but not really supported by how Marvel typically presents sun-struck vampires. Also, there could have stood to be an editorial box referring readers to the recent Death of Dracula one-shot, especially as we meet unfamiliar vamps. Finally, is Jubilee really still a teenager?
The primary Adi Granov cover is a true classic, but misleading – many of the characters never appear in the issue.
Inside, Paco Medina errs on the cartoonish side of X-Men, drawing a set of characters who would look at home on a Saturday morning (with an accompanying set of bright colors). That's not a bad thing in itself, but he's got some weak spots – especially with women's faces looking samey. He also draws Pixie abnormally busty compared to other recent outings, and has her emitting some sort of power blast that doesn't look like pixie dust.
Major X-Fans need not flock to this lackluster issue. You can get your fill of these characters in plenty of other places where they're being used a lot more effectively.