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X #1 Review

By Zak Edwards
May 9, 2013 - 18:51

I read this amazing blog post today by a writer named Tobias Buckell about how reviewers tend to get a little jaded towards what they are writing about.  Reviewers, Buckell says, “read so much that what may seem new or interesting to most... is just a variation” for them.  As genres become templates, they in turn become so obvious that, for people who engage with it too much, they get boring.  As Buckell says, what you, as a reviewer, is “left with isn’t a raw, initial passion for reviewing what you love, but a more craftman’s-like examination of the book for an audience you may no longer really be a part of, but can remember being a part of.”  It makes a whole bunch of sense.  The joy of opening up a book and seeing something genuinely new and interesting becomes harder and harder for people who decide tho think about these things critically over a long period of time.  I’ve been reviewing comics for this site for six years now, and what Buckell is talking about has been a continual struggle for me.


But oh my god, you came here to read a review for Dark Horse’s newest series, X, not to see what some reviewer thinks about his own stuff.  It ties together though, I promise.  

I mean, this book is good, it really is.  X made me roll my eyes at a couple of moments, but I haven’t not rolled my eyes at a superhero comic in a long time.  That’s what reading superhero comics and thinking about them in this capacity does.  The issue makes me think about how people read books, like reading no matter how bad they get, or really just to see action figures get smashed together in events like Age of Ultron, where, let’s face it, nothing is really going to happen but Holy Jesus are things going to get the crap beat out of them!  You know what, that’s fine, it really is, because people coming to see that happen spent just as much as the person spending the money and complaining about it.  Steven Soderbergh released a statement earlier this week about the movie industry and said he was on a plane with someone who spent the whole time watching just the action sequences of movies, just the action sequences.  And, as a director who likes to dichotomize cinema and movies, his work on Magic Mike from Contagion (like that’s such an easy binary), of course this made him have a pseudo-profound moment from seeing someone do that to a bunch of action movies.

The thing is, this book, X, has Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns written all over it in the way the early nineties did.  It’s proof that the Dark Age of comics reigns supreme, even as a whole heap of us thought Planetary, The Authority, and Seven Soldiers of Victory were going to make that a thing of the past.  Guess what, the DCU reboot, with it’s general focus on sex and violence and leather, is keeping us precisely where Image Comics left behind in their recent Renaissance.  That doesn’t mean the book in question is in any way a bad comic, but it does wear that variation thing Buckell talks about on its sleeve.  But that doesn’t really matter because this book is good.

And I don’t even mean that in a ‘oh, it’s shallow entertainment’ way.  The book is engaging, has actually really good art I thought I was going to hate, and wants me to come back next month for more of it.  After all, the journalist character is someone I can connect with, even as the titular character stays in the heavy shadows and is pretty generically bad-ass (and I mean that both in terms of being generic and part of that genre).  He does some gym exercises that make me think, “Wow, I could do that if I, y’know, cared” and then dives into a corporate-type room and kills people with guns.  So yeah, there’s a thrill there and it even ties to a certain animosity to the ‘big corporation’ thing that the book and readers can recognize and connect to.  The journalist's losing her job, he’s killing them for it in a certain capacity.  The thematics work and I can almost guarantee that no one will remember this thing, but that doesn’t mean its value is deficient.  It simply means it’s got the template, it's applying the template, and it's making something interesting.  I recommend this book, I really do.

Grade: 7.5/10    Good art, engaging story, and proof Dark Horse knows what they are doing. Go buy it!

Last Updated: May 19, 2020 - 12:25

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