Review: DEATH OF X #1


Written by Jeff Lemire & Charles Soule
Art by Aaron Kuder, Morry Hollowell, & Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: October 5, 2016

Let’s take it back to the start.

Scott, Emma, Illyana, and crew travel to Muir Island to uncover a mystery around Jamie Madrox. What they mind is a dire omen about their fate. Meanwhile, the Inhumans, led by Crystal, travel to Japan to see if they can add to their ranks. Both sides reach important conclusions about their place in the world which will likely intensify the coming conflict.

Death of X #1 doesn’t have much to digest, but it does create a lot of questions. Whether the prior events or the subsequent, this story invokes the changing world of the Inhumans and the manifest fear of the X-Men. I like a lot of the story choices in terms of parallel plots, and I think that is where much of the skill is evident within this issue. This is enough to pique readers’ interests, and it could lead to deeper and more interesting dynamics. For now, it’s a soft introduction to a hard issue for the Marvel universe.

Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule’s power is in framing this issue. We alternate between the X-Men and the Inhumans with stories of foreboding mystery and supportive joy. These two story threads mirror each other in a way that creates a striking conclusion to the first chapter of the story. Lemire and Soule take the opposing circumstances of the X-Men and the Inhumans and guide them to a place where each side has a similar motive, but they are sure to manifest in different ways.

Aaron Kuder’s art is mostly on point in framing and perspective. The diverse presentation of point of view engages the reader and the amount of work is evident in casting the characters in widely varying placement in panels in relation to their environment. However, sometimes emotions and character posing feel off, particularly for the women in the story. Morry Hollowell uses an interesting color dynamic, in that the issue shifts from similar schemes for both the X-Men and the Inhumans’ settings. Hollowell moves the issue from simultaneous cool green, blue, and purple hues, to putting the X-Men in darker environments, corresponding to their situation, while the Inhumans are surrounded by warm colors by the end of the issue. This effect mirrors the movement of the story from one that is similar in both teams’ cases to one that conveys hope for some while dire straits for others.

Death of X #1 is not quite what I expected, but it also doesn’t feel like promotional event fare. The context around the characters and their circumstances have had significant impact, even if unknown to readers. I like this exploration into the events that created the foundation for the schism between the X-men and the Inhumans, and the framing looks like it could challenge both sides in their endeavors for survival. This first issue of Death of X is subtle, but could truly build into something jaw dropping.

The Verdict: 8.5/10


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