Mister X, one of the most beloved series of the 1980s, has been rebooted by creator Dean Motter in the form of a three part miniseries, Eviction. Motter’s techno-paradise known as Radiant City has been a source of great inspiration for comics as a medium going forward, but as far as Dark Horse’s first of a three-parter goes, is it good?
Mister X: Eviction #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Full disclosure: I had actually never read a Mister X comic before Eviction. Sure, I’ve heard the series get showered with reverence, its loyal fanbase extolling the dystopian series noir both for its unique artwork and its thought-provoking, deep storyline, but I guess it was just a little before my time; in the early 90s I was much more interested in Spider-Man, picking my nose and LEGOs. In that order.
Despite how little things may have changed for me, I was excited when I saw that Eviction was being released on Dark Horse. Dark Horse claims Eviction is a great starting point for new readers. They’re right, to a point. This issue is largely playing catch-up for new readers; introducing the main characters (mostly returning, some new) and acclimating readers to the awe-inspiring world of Radiant City.
The city is definitely the most important aspect of this introductory issue, and rightfully so. Architected by our eponymous protagonist, Radiant City is basically what somebody in the 1940s would envision the year 2000 to be like. Electricity is nearly worshipped—you can infer that much from city names such as Ohm Town and Electra City—and Mister X’s architecture expands past mere edificial blueprints and incorporates “psychetecture,” which essentially controls the minds of the city’s denizens.
We’re introduced to a character named Rosie, a news reporter who also seems to have a proclivity for the hooch. Her photographer, Scooter, has recently developed a crippling case of achlouophobia, rendering his darkroom job impossibly frightening.
Tough break, bro.
In addition to Rosie and Scooter, we’re eventually introduced to Mister X himself. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but Eviction does an intelligent job of setting up some intertwining stories that are certainly poised to get interesting. Everybody seems to have their own issues here, which leaves me impatiently awaiting the next issue to get some more information on what exactly is going on.
About half this issue is actually a side story called “In Control” which offers some backstory about how Mister X’s very particular city is laid out, and the dedication and obligation Mister X feels toward his work.
The artwork in this issue is perfect for the type of story. Great use of negative space; the artwork gets downright stark at times, but never without good reason. The colors, while decidedly muted, help further the pulp, noir atmosphere that the writing creates. The buildings and surroundings are fascinating and oftentimes I found myself simply gazing at the cityspace on some pages.
- Fascinating cityscape
- Easy enough to dive in for new readers
- Still left with a lot of questions
Is It Good?
Fans of sci-fi, detective noir and futurism will have their hands full with this miniseries. The first issue is a classic primer; a lot of setup, with almost no action to speak of. However, the beauty of this issue (and the series) isn’t in detailed fights or choreographed action scenes. It’s about getting lost in the fascinating microcosm Motter has architected. Like the titular Mister X, Motter has finely crafted an amazing city of wonderment, and as a new reader it’s hard not to get caught up in it all. I’m sure fans of the series will have just as many, if not more, praises to sing about this triumphant return.