While the title may be there to conjure the same kind of specific nostalgia as “X-Men: Gold,” this is basically the latest iteration of “All-New X-Men” featuring the time-displaced version of the team. Dennis Hopeless’ take on them may have been the most pleasant surprise of the last “X-Men” relaunch, but this new direction from Cullen Bunn isn’t quite there yet. It’s not that he’s lacking for decent story ideas as this volume has the team mixing it up with Black Tom and the Juggernaut as a shakedown mission, encountering a batch of Sentinels that want to protect mutants under orders from their new master, throwing down with a batch of castaways from the Ultimate Universe, and finding out that Madripoor has its own brand of vigilante heroes.
There’s plenty going on here and that’s even before I get to the fact that Magneto is now overseeing this team. I’m always up for having Bunn write the character but his work on the last iteration of “Uncanny” and now this haven’t hit the same heights that his “Magneto” solo series did. A bigger issue is that while Magneto is a relatively small part of this volume, his actions are the most interesting thing about it as we quickly find out that he has his own plans. As for the rest of the cast, much of Bunn’s dialogue and characterization comes off as perfunctory and uninspired. The easy camaraderie that drove previous iterations of “All-New” is in short supply here and a lot of the dialogue feels pretty generic too.
Then you’ve got the art in this volume which features work from six different artists. I wouldn’t have minded seeing an entire volume, or even just an arc from one of them -- Jorge Molina in particular. Yet the mishmash of styles over the six issues collected here is as distracting as you’d expect. Still, getting a more consistent art team feels like the most fixable of the problems this series has at this point. I didn’t think this first volume of “X-Men: Blue” was outright bad, but at this point it’s a definite step down compared to what we’ve had before from these characters.