Pros: Very entertaining read
Cons: Silly fan service for the most part
Cyclops and the Beast are pondering the damage done by the Scarlet Witch, which resulted in the near extinction of the mutant race when she depowered more than 90% of the population. The Beast believes that there was more damage done than what everyone thinks; with so much energy that had been released, he wonders where the energy went. A few miles from the planet, a being awakens and an American space shuttle begins to plummet towards Earth. -summary
X-Men: Deadly Genesis is an amazing story on paper, and for the most part I would say it's an excellent read especially for the long time fan familiar with the X-Men's distant past. It's only draw backs are small story elements that feel really pointless, and not exactly plot holes I would say, but some smaller details needed more clarification (ok, there's one significant plot hole). Other than that, it's an excellent aftermath tale that follows up on the Scarlet Witch's actions that took place in House of M concerning the depowered mutants. This story element would also be covered again in New Avengers Volume 4: The Collective. Another reason why the story is an excellent read is because Ed Brubaker once again digs into the retcon kit, and adds an alternate spin to Len Wein's Giant-Sized X-Men #1 originally written in 1975. This TPB Collects X-Men: Deadly Genesis 1 - 6.
Brubaker who had been making noise within the pages of Captain America, most notably bringing Cap's first partner Bucky back into main continuity alive and well in Winter Soldier; brings to light that Professor Xavier created a second X-Men team to infiltrate the living island Krakoa, this team was the true second genesis, thus making Storm, Wolverine, and Colossus' line up the third. Due to the aftermath of the Krakoa incident, Xavier kept the real second team's existence secret, even going so far as to erase memories. The Scarlet Witch's powers allowed one of those members by the name of Vulcan, to reawaken from his coma. He returns searching for Xavier leaving a trail of death behind him, and thanks to the Scarlet Witch robbing the mutants of their energy, he's powerful enough to be classified as an Omega Level mutant.
Retcons are something that I usually take with a grain of salt, because some story elements really can't be ignored due to the plot holes they create, but along with the Sentry, this is probably the best retcon Marvel has to offer since it really can fit into continuity. It's as if Brubaker went back and re-read Wein's original story in order to cover up his tracks, and he did just that. The suspense is worked out very well delivering pieces of the story and keeping the character's identity under wraps. I enjoyed how Brubaker didn't even provide any clues as to who Vulcan really was outside of him already knowing Cyclops; this worked into the overall impact tying up the ending.
The character development is solid in regards to Vulcan; the reader will get more than enough of a glimpse of his power and personality, but I think Xavier is examined the best here. Brubaker works the story arcs theme through him, basically showing us that the skeleton's in your closet are going to bust out eventually, and no matter how good your intentions may be, some things should not be kept secret. The small plot holes people notice are legit in a way, and these things needed some type of explanation, but there is one plot hole that really can't be excused, and it's Quicksilver being in attendance at a funeral. I find it hard to believe that the X-Men would tolerate his presence and not beat the hell out of him bloody instead. However, my biggest pet peeve is the diving into Emma Frost's origin, with her being a stripper at one point. I mean, seriously, Brubaker couldn't think of something different? It was just an attempt at mindless fan service, and it does nothing for the character than continue pushing female superheroes off as mere sex objects.
Trevor Hairsine's artwork has moments of being slightly above average. Characters facial designs and gestures manage to get across certain emotions and intents without dialog, which will always be a plus to me. Character designs are decent enough with the characters not looking overly buff, but they don't look too strong looking either on some occasions. The action has some good moments displaying Vulcan's powers, as he easily destroys a new and improved Sentinel. The X-Men attempting to take him down was fun to watch. Brubaker did a fine job with dialog also creating some fun to read interactions; such as Emma Frost blowing her top and Wolverine just pretty much being himself.
X-Men: Deadly Genesis isn't only a fun read, it's also very important as it sets the stage for Uncanny X-Men: Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire and later Emperor Vulcan, even more so than Uncanny X-Men: End of Greys. If you're a hardcore X-Men fan, then yeah, you do need this. If you're just looking to get through the Marvel major events such as Civil War, Secret Invasion, etc., you really don't need this.