- Posted by Johanna on January 22, 2006 at 1:45 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- CREDITS: written by Peter David; pencils by Ryan Sook; inks by Wade von Grawbadger
- PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics; $2.99 US
Considering the comics I’ve read featuring mutant superheroes, Peter David is the best at showing the reader what it would be like to have particularly odd sets of powers. It’s not that he comes up with new and unusual variants on abilities (although he does), it’s that he gets inside the head of diverse characters and brings out unexpected key elements of their personalities as they’d be shaped by their powers. Then he demonstrates this knowledge through subtly clever dialogue.
I came into this series launch knowing only the bits about Jamie Madrox, Multiple Man, that I found out in the previous miniseries Madrox, and I know nothing about Rictor, whose appearance opens the issue. Jamie’s trying to stop Rictor, depressed over his loss of mutant powers, from jumping off a building. (The method he uses, creating variously emotional versions of himself and making them pitch for the gig, is blackly funny.)
Even never having seen Rictor before, I was given everything I needed to know about him though dialogue. The conversation, though, never advertised how much it revealed, both about the character and the state of the larger Marvel universe, as he reflects on the absence of his powers and how much he’s lost.
Sook and von Grawbadger’s art is darkly moody yet in the vein of Kevin Maguire, capturing both action and expression well. The shadows and light sources, beautifully colored by Jose Villarrubia, particularly impressed me with how well they create an urban night atmosphere.
Humor is a key component of this book, but so is classic noir. Strong Guy and Siryn are trying to get the goods on a con man when their witness is killed. They’re additional operatives in Madrox’s detective agency, which is investigating what happened to cause mutants to lose their powers. (This series ties in with the Decimation event, but it can be read completely stand-alone.)
Also joining the group are Monet and Wolfsbane. If you’ve read previous mutant titles, these names will be familiar as intriguing but underused characters; if you haven’t, everyone is introduced briefly to the reader.
I’m really glad I waited to read this issue until I had the second. (First issues these days aren’t always good examples of how series will continue, so I try to give new titles I’m optimistic about more of a try-out.) The last two pages created a gasp-inducing cliffhanger that was completely unexpected and provided an intriguing hook for future series drama.
I don’t want to go into too much depth on the next issue, or this will devolve into me saying “wasn’t it neat when Monet saved the day?” and “isn’t describing her as ‘Supergirl meets Veronica Lodge’ just perfect?” I’m also enjoying the use of walking deus ex machina plot device Layla Miller — she’s treated as exactly what she is, but somehow she has more depth in David’s hands.
Unfortunately, the art isn’t as good as in issue one. A fill-in artist, Dennis Callero, is already contributing some of the pages, and in one key scene, Monet is mis-colored as Siryn. Still, I can’t wait for #3!