The idea of a skull bashing, no fucks given, superhero, has been done more times than any of us care to count. I hope that "X" tops everyone's list. If you didn't already know, myself included, X is a character that was created in the 90’s and had a 25 issue run from 1995-1996 and is now being dusted off the from the shelves over at Dark Horse as part of their current superhero relaunch. Dark Horse had my attention immediately after I saw the first ad that had a picture of X with the description of "Super: Brutal".
The issue begins with Mr. Lanzetti and his dog taking their routine stroll around the docks, routine until Mr. Lanzetti sees the bloodbath that was left behind from the slaying that took place just hours prior. Shocked by what he witnessed, Mr. Lanzetti immediately rethinks his decision to live out the rest of his life in Arcadia, packs up his belongings, and leaves. Before leaving he tells his only friend, Leigh Ferguson, a young reporter set out to expose the ugly corruption that has become Arcadia, about the docks in warehouse 10. While Leigh is out investigating the scene of the massacre, she is spotted by Captain Wilder and has to make a break for it but not before overhearing the Captain telling his men to cover the whole incident up and to torch the building. Leigh is only able to speak about what she saw writing it in the form of a blog post, promising that she will uncover the truth.
A short while later Leigh receives the photographs of the men that X was after (in the zero issue), each having their faces X'ed out. Leigh immediately recognizes the photo of Leo Pietrain and rushes to his penthouse to talk to him, but she's too late. Confused and now determined to figure out who X is, Leigh has no idea that the person who sent her those photographs was Leo Pietrain himself.
Duane Swierczynski did a stand up job of revamping a story that's only existed in the archives for almost 20 years. I love that there was more than one cliff hanger in this issue because it leaves the reader asking questions of curiosity and excitement rather than questions based in confusion. There's a lot going on with why the cops want to cover up what X did, why Pietrain sent those photos to Leigh. And why X feels that he needs help from someone who was tracking him down, but I never felt that there was too much story to take in or that it felt cluttered.
X has had some really awesome art by Eric Nguyen, with colors by Michelle Madsen. Together they bring a blast from the past with pages that look like they came straight from the 90’s. I know that a lot of people hate art, and most comics for that matter from the 90’s, but don't ruin this for me! I've never read any of the original X series but the art is almost a continuation of that and it's great. Very gritty and grotesque which is a perfect match for the story.
This is going to be a series that you're not going to want to miss, especially if you like brutal, action packed stories, with art work in the vein of many of you favorite (or most hated), 90’s titles. I can already see where the relationship with X and Leigh is headed so it does fall shy of a perfect score, at least in my book, just based on its predictability. It was still an awesome read and I'm excited to see what Swierczynski takes his epic story to.
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artists: Eric Nguyen
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 5/8/13