X-Men: Noir #1
By Zak Edwards
December 9, 2008 - 13:31
Writer(s): Fred Van Lente
Penciller(s): Dennis Calero
Letterer(s): Nate Piekos
Marvel is doing this whole ‘noir’ series, taking their major franchises and putting them in the grim and gritty world of the film noir of the nineteen forties. Those films were focused around morally ambiguous characters (usually a detective of some sort) who gets tangled up in some sort of plot, usually with a femme fatale character. Personally, I love these movies, the language they use and their use of light in particular. So I come to these with some serious expectations, one of which was destroyed right from the get go, the whole thing’s in colour! But the rest of the issue seems like it might not actually be that bad.
The art is coloured. That’s the first mistake. Noir is back and white, and colour only works well in the way Frank Miller coloured in Sin City. But once past this, the issue actually looks good. The costumes are in keeping with the time period, and the backgrounds have enough blimps to convince me the story is not taking place in the present. The lighting is well done, and artist Dennis Calero makes wonderful use of shadows throughout the entire issue. The interrogation scene with Xavier in particular is a prime example of Calero’s use of light, with the characters being draped in moody shadows, hiding all sorts. So besides the colour, Calero’s art is amazing, capturing much of the visual elements of the film noir genre.
7.5/10 Worth looking into. The art reflects the noir better than the writing.