X gives new meaning to sociopathic maniacal madman—terms usually reserved for the villains in comics. In this series, however, the anti-anti-hero is King, and it’s good to be the King.
As with X #0, saying that X is back with a vengeance would be an insult. Nguyen’s illustrated brutality is still so striking it almost hurts to witness, yet there is a restraint to it, it’s not over the top like some Manga I’ve read. That being said, if you are not into scenes of glorified massacre, this is definitely not your book.
Amidst all the death and destruction you might not notice this issue starts tossing us a few bones of character development. The most notable introduction is to Miss Ferguson. A young redheaded journalist/hacker, who is most definitely poised to be X’s advocate, as she daringly investigates the murders of the criminal underworld, risking not just her reputation, but her life as well. Whether something more develops between her and X remains to be seen, but I hope that Swierczynski has something a little less cliché in store for us.
We are also treated to glimpses of X, shirtless, working out in what appears to be his warehouse headquarters, the panels peppered with captions from Ferguson’s journal, which is refreshing for two reasons. #1: this book will always suffer from being compared to the reigning vigilante champion, The Punisher. So any deviation from Mr. Castle’s routine is a good idea. #2: This tactic also keeps X’s identity wrapped in mystery, which, as I mentioned in my review of #0, I think is paramount to the longevity of this character. Just as his face is kept veiled in scratchy shadow, so should his origin.
At its core, X is a guilty pleasure, and it doesn’t try to be anything other than that. So set aside your moral preconceptions, buckle up, and live vicariously through X’s eyes.
X #1 Review