Dark Horse Comics’ X #1 Review

Published by Dark Horse Comics.
Written by Duane Swierczynski.
Art by Eric Nguyen.
Colors by Michelle Madsen.

In a first issue of a new ongoing comic series, you would assume that the main aim would be to introduce the titular character to the readers. This could be further from the truth in X #1. The violent vigilante himself is hardly featured in this first issue and the story is all the better because of it. The tale is told from the relatable perspective of a young woman called Leigh Ferguson and effortlessly elevates X to the “mythical hero” status that so many crime fighters strive to achieve.

The creative team behind the book, writer Duane Swierczynski, artist Eric Nguyen, and colorist Michelle Madsen, manage to establish the tone of the series from the get-go – it’s modern, gritty and violent. The character, labeled only as X, debuted in 1994 and there is definitely a sense of this time period in this reboot. X #1 feels like a 90s comic but, at the same time, is also very reminiscent of the recent trend of blood-soaked anti-hero vigilantes. Swierczynski manages to avoid any of the cliches that could have easily befallen this debut issue.

Nguyen’s pulpy and dark is tight throughout and is perfectly complimented by Madsen’s muted color scheme. There is a clear conscious effort for the standout color to be red and frankly, it makes the book. From the blood of X’s victims, the markings on his costume, the Xs that mark his foes and even Leigh’s bright hair. My main complaint would be that Leigh reminds me of many contemporary protagonists. A young tech-savvy civilian who accidentally ends up helping a superhero is hardly anything original (see: Harper Row in Scott Snyder‘s Batman, Kick Ass Vol 1, etc) but so far it’s been handled with grace and does not come off as a cliche. With that in mind, lord knows there’s always room for another interesting female character in the comics industry.

Whether you’re a fan of the original series or, like me, a complete newcomer to the world of the X killer, there should be something for you to enjoy in X #1.  A long as you can handle plenty of violence and buckets of blood, of course.

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