Sometimes a thing is so very good you wish you could keep getting it, like vanilla ice cream and bacon. (Not necessarily at the same time.)
Though everyone says they don’t want a rehash of an old thing, if it’s good enough deep down you do. Even when most tries fail. Take for instance Alan Moore’s The Watchmen, where DC couldn’t replicate the iconic work in its recent prequels. Dark Horse Comics recently started publishing a revamp of the 1994 character X and I can’t help but be reminded of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. That is, I’m loving every second of it. Issue #1 debuted to rave reviews, but as far as issue #2, is it good?
X #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
This issue opens where the last left off, with X being severely wounded and unemployed journalist Leigh Ferguson trying to save the very guy she’s wanted an exclusive with. She’s a blogger focusing on the murders of the criminal elite by “X Killer,” but really what are the chances she could get an exclusive interview with X himself?
This issue spends the majority of its time building up the evil commissioner character. Sure plenty of pages are used to focus on Leigh and X’s escape, but even those precious moments directly affect the commissioner’s attitude. When X finally gets a one on one with the man it doesn’t end very cleanly to say the very least. The joy in reading this series is how writer Duane Swierczynski clearly has a plan for this character and world: instead of introducing a new world and telling us all about the past, we’re seeing first hand the villains and vendettas building right before our eyes.
This series reminds me of Dark Knight Returns partly because of the bleak tone and bloody honest nature to crime and heroics, but also because of the art. Artist Eric Nguyen adds a certain amount of weight that Miller was so good at. While Nguyen’s style is more chaotic and heavy on the pencil work, it still has the gritty nature needed for a story like this. So often superhero stories that take place on the street feel too much like CSI with the forensics and pretty cops, but X hits a certain tone that keeps it grounded in the despicable world of crime.
For a character who speaks so little you’d think character development would be impossible, but Swierczynski manages it quite well. This is partly due to the strong characterization of Leigh, but it’s also due to the body language and actions of the characters. Bottom line, the characters feel real, even when they’re doing some pretty unreal things (like carving peoples faces up).
- Gritty art that’s perfect for this type of story
- Strong plot and story
- X is an enigma, but maybe that’s for the best?
For a comic named after its character you’d think you’d get a lot more from X, but that’s not the point. Clearly Swierczynski wants him to be a force and maybe even a symbol, similar to how Batman is portrayed time and time again. We aren’t getting into his head just yet, but that’s okay, because the world being crafted is much more important at this stage.
Is It Good?
Yes. Super heroics in the most grisly of ways and places needs-more books like this please!