Dark X-Men #2
SAVE THEM ALL OR DIE TRYING! The Dark X-Men’s first "rescue mission" ended in blood and flame, the team is already at each other’s throats, and the fallen now rise against them. Plus, Madelyne Pryor makes the worst mistake possible in a horror story: Never. Ever. Split up.
Dark X-Men #2 is a masterclass in mini-series writing, one that should be studied by everyone attempting to make it big in comics through this format. Supported by Jonas Scharf’s impressive imagery and Frank Martin’s thematic coloring, Steve Foxe has penned such a structurally impressive issue that it’s challenging to discuss any of its major qualities without divorcing the story from its pacing and ‘technical’ attributes. However, a significant reason why the character writing, plotting, and imagery are so engaging is due to how masterfully everything is laid out.
This issue picks up where the last left off, delving into the ‘need-to-know’ backstory of Madeline Pryor of Earth-91240, a version of the Goblin Queen who has gone through an intense series of stories, starting with 2015’s Inferno mini-series, born out of 2015’s massive Secret Wars event. Nothing exemplifies why this issue is so great more than how Foxe moves this Maddie’s plot along in conjunction with Orchis’ machinations as the book’s main antagonists.
The exposition in the book’s textbooks regarding her background flows neatly with what’s currently happening with Orchis, merging the two in such a way that both Maddie’s short yet confusing backstory and Orchis’ machinations elevate each other completely. Neither would be as engaging if they weren’t paced out and interlaced in such a perfect and tactful way, something that the rest of the book’s story shares with it.
This skill of managing to build both the past and present of our characters applies to just how well the ‘team writing’ of this book feels to read. While the book is only in its second issue of five, there’s a legitimate sense of teamwork among our band of misfit mutants in this title, knitting the two key groups of this makeshift team together by focusing on their shared concerns about two (practically) founding X-Men: Angel and Havok.
The group is bound together by their care for these characters, something that’s well-established and explored through the various interpersonal relationships and backstories these characters have been given due to their years of serialization. These elements are seamlessly woven into the dialogue and art of this book. Something as simple as Havok, injured and tired, sitting down to share the importance of his relationship with Maddie with both the reader and the book’s new recruit, Feint. The book is replete with moments of wholesome bonding between characters, conflicts over the importance of saving Angel from Orchis while Havok lies an inch from death, and characterization that’s purposefully enhanced by Clayton Cowles’ dynamic lettering.
Overall, the book manages a plot that’s stuffed with multiple threads by intertwining the threat of Orchis directly into the assembly, conflict, and character-building of this new X-Men team. It’s incredibly detailed yet concise for a mini-series, representing compressed storytelling at its most perfect.
Dark X-Men #2 is written with such richness that it's disappointing to see the evidently passionate work of Steve Foxe & Jonas Scharf be constrained to a mini-series within the Fall of X. Both beautiful and thrilling, there isn't a Marvel team book quite like out right now.
Dark X-Men #2: Devils from Above & Angels from Below
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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