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    X-MEN: SHADOWS OF THE PAST by Michael Jan Friedman

    BP Books, Simon & Schuster, June 2000

    Professor Charles Xavier leads his mutant x-men for their own good and for the benefit of all humanity. All of their trust and mutant powers are at his disposal. When Lucifer, a long vanquished alien enemy, captures Xavier and replaces him with an energy duplicate, those very powers are turned to Lucifer's escape and his conquest of Earth. Although imprisoned in an alternate universe, Xavier must somehow warn his students of the threat. Even he is able to do so, however, Lucifer's energy constructs have shown themselves immune to the worst the x-men can throw at them.

    X-MEN: SHADOWS OF THE PAST has a lot to recommend itself to fans of the X-MEN universe. Lucifer is a long-standing enemy who is responsible for Xavier's crippling injury. The initial X-MEN team, consisting of Scott Summers (Cyclops), Jean Gray (Marvel Girl), Warren Worthington III (Angel), Hank McCoy (Beast), and Bobby Drake (Iceman) is reunited with the blend of reparte, rivalry, and friendship that made the original comic strip such a breakout. The novel form factor allows far more plot development than is possible in a comic book.

    X-MEN plunges the familiar characters into adventure, allowing them to use their mutant powers to overcome obstacles that would destroy ordinary humans. It underuses the opportunity presented in the longer novel form factor to show greater character insights and growth, however.

    One Star

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