The plot thickens in Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor #2 as the all-girl X-Men team cuts their way through the crime-riddled city of Madripoor. In Mystery in Madripoor #1, we saw the first reappearance of the Femme Fatales since their introduction in 1990. The villainess group easily defeated the X-Men, capturing Storm, Psylocke, and Rogue. In this latest issue, Kitty, Domino, and Jubilee take to Madripoor’s streets to investigate the Femme Fatales while the imprisoned X-Men try to find a way out.
Writer Jim Zub, artist Thony Silas, and colorist Felipe Sobreiro send readers into a new, unexplored world that most creative teams in the past have completely ignored. Madripoor is constantly talked about in X-Men comics, but rarely does it have spotlight Zub gives it in Mystery in Madripoor #2. Readers get to see both “Lowtown” and “Hightown” in this issue — the Madripoor equivalents of Downtown and Uptown. In Lowtown, we see just how crime-invested Madripoor really is. In Hightown, we see Madripoor’s answer to Times Square: flashy neon, huge skyscrapers, and omnipotent wealth.
To highlight the “anything goes” nature of Madripoor, Sobreiro uses fun, heavily saturated palettes. Silas’ heavily stylized drawings help to make the whole issue feel otherworldly — which is exactly what Madripoor is. Since the word “Madripoor” is in the name of the miniseries, Mystery in Madripoor needs to focus on the city, and it most certainly does. Zub does an excellent job building a nearly fully-developed world in just a couple of issues.
A major part of this world is, of course, the underground crime team known as the Femme Fatales. I love that Zub brought this group of villains into the 21st century, revamping their powers, names, and costumes. Although they haven’t always been there, the way Zub and Silas portray them as slimy (but well dressed) criminals makes them seem as if they’re a permanent fixture on the Madripoor crime circuit.
I know for some readers, having a completely female X-Men team alongside the Femme Fatales may sound like a girl-power overload. But, honestly, it’s not really a prominent part of the plot. Yes, they are all women. But, unlike so many other comics that feature predominantly female teams, Mystery in Madripoor #2 doesn’t make a huge deal of it. It is a solid issue with an exciting group of characters who just so happen to be all girls.
When comics advertise that a team is completely female, it alienates the series. Suddenly, because they’re pointing it out, the series becomes something different. Mystery in Madripoor #2 doesn’t advertise the fact that the series features mostly women. It treats that aspect of the work as normal because it is normal.
Mystery in Madripoor isn’t a series only for girls. It’s a series about a kickass team of X-Men going up against some formidable foes. Anyone who likes quality comics can enjoy that story.
The only aspect that I think some people may not enjoy in Mystery in Madripoor #2 is how Silas draws people. Silas works with heavy stylization, which means his characters frequently look nearly identical. From one character to the next, the only things that differentiate them are their hair color, clothing, and skin tone. With a group as obscure as Femme Fatales, it’s difficult to know which villainess is which. Silas does a good job designing clothing and hairstyles that give off specific personalities, but sometimes that isn’t enough. Slightly more defined features could really help Silas make the characters more dynamic for readers.
As a whole, Mystery in Madripoor #2 is a fantastic read. The Hunt for Wolverine crossover event, with its many individual titles, it undoubtedly a little redundant. But this series is strong, even without its Wolverine influence. Zub, Silas, and Sobreiro may not be saving the world from aliens in this series, but they are creating a world where once there wasn’t one. Madripoor will never be the same thanks to the series and, in particular, this issue. That’s an impressive feat for a second issue.