Review: IvX #0

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IvX #0
Written by Charles Soule
Art by Kenneth Rocafort, Dan Brown, Clayton Cowles, & Nicholas Russell
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 30, 2016

A war is coming.

Over the course of eight months, many things have changed. Both Hank McCoy and Emma Frost have begun their campaign to change things for Mutantkind. Yet, we also see that, as the months pass, things never turn out as they seem. There are plans in action and ideas among both the Inhumans and Mutants which could threaten either of their survival. In the end, we don’t know who draws the lines in the sand, but we do know this clash will be a sight to see.

When it comes to versus storylines, I am at the point where I sit on the fence. One on hand, they can turn out good, on the other, they can be a mish-mashed, hackneyed image of what comic fans want. Inhumans vs X-Men #0 sits somewhere around the middle. There are some really promising parts of this zero-issue that I think could make the story excel. Yet, there’s also somethings that I feel could diminish the story to yet another event on the heels of one that isn’t quite that stellar. I’m waiting to see how everything turns out, even with my reservations, but I do think IvX holds a kind of promise that we’ve been missing from events. I want to see some important changes in characterization and plot, but this could end up being something worth reading issue by issue of the team plays their cards right.

Charles Soule sets up an interesting framework for the story with the back-and-forth storytelling embedded within the span of a few months. However, I was slightly offput in the beginning about Hank’s optimism and general nerdiness, but it began to make much more sense as the story came to a conclusion. He truly had hope that he could find some cure to help Mutantkind, similar to the dilemma post-House of M, but that began to dissipate as time moved forward. Soule’s characterization of Hank captures some of the best parts of him, even if it at times feels exaggerated. On the other hand, I had mixed feelings about Emma. Any time she touches on her Hellfire roots, I’m down, because at the end of the day, Emma is truly a forced to be reckoned with and she is not always one for moral certainties. Yet, she was also written with some regular issues I have when men are behind her lines, including nods to her understanding of the role of sexuality in interactions with others. With Soule, she’s at her best when she’s measuring her options as though she’s playing a game of chess. Yet, the reliance upon her sex appeal felt unnecessary for the scope of the comic, and it’s one of my largest criticisms whenever I read something featuring her. Discussions of sex, psychology, and gender aside, I tend to question these narratives with Emma rather than outright assume they’re okay. Beyond the main features of Hank and Emma, Soule does an excellent job of setting up the moral gradient between mutants and Inhumans, as there are characters who dot the lines at various places, inevitably leading to a conflict between the two clans regarding what is truly right or wrong and how black and white these terms are.

Kenneth Rocafort and Dan Brown are a duo of rock stars when it comes to comics. Incorporating technological elements is Rocafort’s bag, as the detail will always be impeccable. Brown’s colors fit with a wide variety of skin tones and locals. Their style together blends an intricate mix of nuanced colors and fine specifics within each image, creating a world full of the minute details we forsake on a day to day basis. My only contention with the art is Emma. She is the only character who seems oddly cast or constructed, and for reasons that are beyond me. Her appearance feels awkward in many scenes, which detracts from her rather formidable presence in the story.

Inhumans vs X-Men #0 points to a crossover which may have a grander significance than I thought. The pieces are lining up and the major players are stepping up to bat. I won’t lie and say that I was enthusiastic about this crossover, but with the emphasis on varied characters and Emma’s penchant for strategy, I may be on board. The lead-up is slow, but there could truly be some amazing story elements in store for readers. I say give this issue a shot for curiosity’s sake, as you’re likely to see some important parts of characters you love. I have my misgivings regarding characterization and image, particularly for Emma, but I think this could end up being better than any of us expected.

The Verdict: 8.0/10

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