X has consistently been one of my favorite books each month for the past year. For me, there have only been one or two missteps in an otherwise fantastic book. One of these downsides is the fact that the artist keeps changing. I do enjoy Robert Atkins’s art and Andy Owens does a good job of bringing in the dark, bleak, underworld-like tones which bring Arcadia to life. That said, seeing this new art makes me miss Eric Nguyen’s art even more. His style matched this book perfectly and I don’t think anyone else can fill his shoes. I felt like Nguyen and Swierczynski were the perfect team for this book, and I’m a little disappointed that we don’t have Nguyen back (although his name is listed under issue #15-unless that hasn’t been updated or it’s a typo). Things are really starting to heat up with Leigh on the other side now that she’s been brainwashed by Tango. Since X escaped from Deathwish and the other psychopaths, we see him on a rooftop with a sniper rifle and Gamble in his sights. Gamble is “babysitting” one of Tango’s drug houses for him when all of a sudden a group of men start raining gunfire on the house. Gamble is able to make a cowardly escape while leaving his men at the house behind, and the group move in to take them out. X is able to put a tranquilizer dart in one which will come into play later.
Meanwhile, Leigh is watching this all go down at a police precinct. She’s working with a guy named Haut in order to put their brains together and figure everything out. Haut knows that the mysterious group X has encountered is an Aryan splinter group who are oddly enough inspired by X and his actions. They even suit up similar to him. They’ve targeted Tango and his operation. Last issue, Leigh swears she saw X, but Haut is trying to convince her that she saw one of these agents from the Aryan splinter group. The fact that Leigh is on the other side adds a lot of drama to the story which I like. It’s also interesting that since she was brainwashed, we’re not totally sure if she actually did see X last issue.
The psychic that Tango has been holding hostage makes it that Tango will start a war with the Aryan splinter group who will probably tear him and his men to shreds even further if he retaliates. Meanwhile in prison, Rudioso gets word that a certain group has been bailed out of prison (hint: “woof woof”). There’s way more that happens in this book, but I think it’s worth it to go out and buy this one so I won’t give anymore away.
Although we’ve come to expect adrenaline-pumping, high-octane issues month after month from this book, I feel like the writing is strong enough that I never know what’s going to happen next. Although X does his best to clean up the streets, each visit to Arcadia is more corrupt, bloody, and dark than the last-and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Writer: Duane Swierczynski Artist: Robert Atkins Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 6/11/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital