What if we lived in a world, not unlike The Matrix where living a full life meant living within a cyberspace. It’s certainly a future that seems plausible at this point. Now, what if that world is where mutant abilities manifested. Much like the real world, mutants would most likely be subjugated and separated for being different. That is what Bryan Edward Hill tackles in this new one-shot issue.
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
The What If? line of comics is back so if you’re a child of the ’90s you’re probably as excited as I am. This is a way to get a different take on your favorite characters as well as let creators tell different kinds of stories the main Marvel universe wouldn’t allow. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The main players in this issue are Cable, Domino, Xavier, and Magneto, although you can tell writer Hill probably has a lot more ideas for this universe based on the back matter. The main selling point of a series like this is seeing how the creators made things different and yet still held true to the mainstream characters and universe. Hill does not disappoint, especially with how he uses Domino. This character is a fascinating one given her powers and he perfectly explains how they work and why in this issue. It’s a very clever take and it’ll definitely make you think.
The story certainly has a beginning, middle, and end too. By the end, I felt satisfied by the story delivered in part because it held true to who Magneto is, but also had a surprising twist towards the end. I could see this world being revisited too especially since it focuses on so few characters for a property that is overflowing with good characters.
The art is shared by Neil Edwards and Giannis Milonogiannis who both offer up an Blade Runner style world that is run down in the real, but futuristic in the cyberspace. Heck, there’s even an Akira style motorbike in the book. Domino steals the show visually too in an excellently choreographed fight sequence by Milonogiannis. There are some intense close-ups of Cable and Xavier too who have a lot of realistic-looking, gritted teeth moments.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I feel kind of stupid, but it took me a good deal of time to figure out how this all worked and that’s with a thorough opening summary page setting things up. This might be in part because the issue drops you into an action scene with Cable and then doubles back to a scene taking place earlier with Cable and Xavier. Given the complex twist on the X-Men, I felt like I was playing catch up rather than grooving with the story.
Is it good?
I’m going to be blunt and say read this for the Domino bits. Her character, and how Hill describes her powers, is worth the price of admission. Layered on top of that is a post-apocalyptic tale that has bits and bobs that seem taken from other stories, but are fashioned in a way that feels new for the X-Men.