The Man With The Peacock Tattoo is developing a new weapon with the help of his son, but you can't keep secrets from a telepath for long. Will Max still be willing to help when he uncovers who his father really is?
Benjamin Percy’s long game has fully paid off, creating a story filled with abject horror and impressive psychological depth. The identity of The Man With The Peacock Tattoo is something of an X-Men deep cut, and the story of his background renders this villain simultaneously appalling and deeply sympathetic.
Percy reveals the history of the leader of Xeno with a deft hand. The villain delivers his story to Max, first presenting a sterilized, idyllic narrative (as so many trauma survivors do) which paints his father with the light of love all children feel for their progenitors before (at Max’s insistence) revealing the harder, more accurate truths.
Max is depicted as a child who has been rendered older than his years through both experience and parental force. The Peacock Man is determined (as the adult survivors of trauma often are) to provide him with a better model of fatherhood, and something resembling genuine love, while still abusing him due to his own undealt with trauma. This depiction requires a tremendous amount of authorial insight and the fact that Percy has rendered this struggle with such painful accuracy is a remarkable achievement.
The theme of trauma, and the importance of acknowledging it and treating it, is echoed in the fact that Domino cannot solve the mystery of the location of Xeno without reincorporating her own suppressed memories. She cannot be complete, or move forward in her own life, until she fully acknowledges what has happened to her and how she has changed.
Percy handles his characters and themes with a level of mastery that is rare in contemporary mainstream comics, and his stories are therefore a privilege to read.
Robert Gill’s art is both detailed, jarring, and occasionally appropriately monstrous. His depictions of the engineered hybrid mutants are brutally horrific. Scars tell the story of survival and pain, and these characters all are marked by their histories. It’s beautiful work. GURU-efx’s colors add emotional temperature and depth to the already stellar line work, and Joe Caramagna’s lettering achieves an appropriately clinical feel. Reading The Peacock Man’s dialogue through the matrix of his lettering is absolutely chilling. It’s like hearing a calm, perfectly composed voice describing the worst pain you’ve ever heard of, over coffee, on a nice, clear day. This lettering is an achievement all on its own.
This story was building for a long time, but the wait was absolutely worth it. Read it and find one of the best psychological thrillers in modern comics.
ICYMI! X-Force #37: An Introduction To Basic Genegineering
- Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
- Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 9.5/109.5/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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