MARVELS X #1
Welcome to the world that will become Earth X and the outbreak of Plague X. As David’s family fall one by one to the disease that promises superpowers for all, he is left with a hard choice. Stay in his parents empty home and risk falling prey to raiders and many other untold dangers outside. Or take the perilous journey to New York the home of the heroes he worships, a place he believes hold the keys to his future safety. And so begins his journey through a world gone mad, the one remaining unpowered individual he knows, in a world full of gods and monsters. Putting his trust in the vast unknown, David decides to make the journey. So far he’s off to a good start, as he hitches a ride with a familiar looking (to us) trucker called John, blazing a trail Eastwards.
With its use of ink dot style backgrounds in the initial introduction panels this opening chapter begins with a touching nod to the Golden Age of comics, before dragging us kicking and screaming into the dystopian timeline that heralds a planet where all of humanity gains superpowers. And if David’s choice of disguise wasn’t already giving me Maximum Overdrive Green Goblin flashbacks, there was the last minute saviour crashing headlong into his life. And Cory Petit manages to include some dynamic use of text in the scene already full of action.
Well-Bee manages to effortlessly merge the art style of the book to that of John Paul Leon, the original artist of Earth X. The ground breaking opening chapter of the epic Earth/Universe/Paradise sprawl. This ensures the spirit of the original is followed through and makes for a seamless connection to what came before…follows after…whatever. NOTE: JPL also delivers a stunning variant cover to this series as seen above, alongside some other strong contenders. Including Ross in fine fettle with David front and centre. And so we witness a vivid rendition of a world thrown into chaos, where the extraordinary becomes common-place and the heroes are no longer unique. And through David’s eyes we follow the slow collapse of society into what will become Earth X. Even as he leaves the house to gather supplies for his family we can see the changes going on within those around him and the peril he faces just leaving the house.
This is a perfect opening chapter for an Alex Ross Marvel outing, being true to not only the ‘X’ trilogy, but also keeping faithful to his other works on the Marvels ‘everyman’ stories. And having Jim Krueger make it back for the prequel was also a coup, as he ensures the world we know from before is still as out there and chaotic as we remember. And for those who haven’t read Earth X this is a perfect jumping on point. This down to earth story has the perfect lead character in David, a young boy full of nothing but wonder and admiration for the superhero community. And miraculously he holds onto his innocence even as his world falls apart.This could either be the thing that heralds his downfall as he trusts strangers to help him, or will become his secret weapon as he guilelessly makes his way to his goal. But clearly there are to be some setbacks, triggering his need to go on a journey of discovery. As his family fall one by one, leaving him with a sister he hardly connects with and a grandmother he feels obligated to take care of we find out more about the honourable nature of the boy. As well as displaying an indomitable will, making him more than just a child in a fantasy world who doesn’t see the danger. He is dedicated to his mission. And so as his trek begins we are equal parts rooting for him and worried for his safety.
As David heads out on his adventure to find Captain America and the other heroes he worships, we are clearly being put in the time frame that precedes Cap killing the Red Skull and quitting. So it is all to play for in terms of introducing those elements as the story unfolds. Realistically we haven’t actually seen any of the characters we know of from what came before/after. But it doesn’t matter. The main character is intriguing enough to carry the book and can hold his own in terms of keeping the focus fixed on him, and I am hooked on his story. And we may yet witness the likes of Skull, Iron Maiden or the formation of the Storm/Black Panther union. But even if we don’t, I for one am rooting for the kid to get where he is going and not let anything stand in his way.
Overall this was a solid start to what promises to be a necessary chapter in a strong continuing narrative, and not just an afterthought for the hell of it.
Marvels X #1: Everybody’s Changing
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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