Marvel’s announcement in July that some of the X-Men’s most infamous arch rivals would be features in a series of one shots known as X-Men Black was met with excitement. The stars of the upcoming books only made fans more enthused for the stories that would be told. Magneto. Mystique. Emma Frost. Mojo? Does Mojo crash in the ratings or does X-Men Black have a surprise hit on its hands?
Mojo is from a race of beings known as the Spineless Ones. He is only able to move through the aid of technology and rules a universe he named after himself. Power in the Mojoverse is measured through television ratings. Mojo’s confrontations with the X-Men have been broadcast in the Mojoverse to huge ratings.
Writer Scott Aukerman makes it clear early in the issue that he has handle on what type of character Mojo is. Whereas Chris Claremont’s Magneto was a serious story that dealt with discrimination, Aukerman decides to go the opposite route with Mojo and has fun with the titular villain. This is a great idea since one of Mojo’s main adversaries is a team of young X-Men known as the X-Babies.
The most surprising thing about Mojo is the best way to describe it may be as a romantic comedy. Early in the book, Mojo leaves his underground hideout to do “reconnaissance” in New York City. What follows is a lighthearted story that is funny, if a little predictable.
Aukerman goes all in on his “bad boy trying to find love” story and it is a complete success. All the tropes that you would expect to find are here: The chance encounter that would only be romantic to the sadistic X-Villain. The awful disguise that is not fooling anyone. An ending that seems to wrap everything up in a nice little bow. There is a certain comfort in familiarity, and Mojo is very familiar.
Where Aukerman’s writing succeeds is that the story hits all the expected notes without ever becoming boring. With each turn of the page, readers can almost predict what is going to happen next, but it is tweaked just enough to keep the reader engaged. The story is almost a spoof of the romantic comedy genre, but Aukermann’s decision to play it straight makes the entire endeavor that much more charming.
The art of Nick Bradshaw and Andre Lima Araujo is perfect for the story. The opening has a borderline sinister and cold feel to it. As the issue progresses, it becomes more colorful and more cartoon like to fit the bubbly tale. The colors of Guru-eFX add to the story. The work on Glob looks especially good.
The ‘Degeneration’ story continues and after the shocking events of the first part, the second chapter will be polarizing. It is well written and certainly will leave readers wondering what exactly is going on with Apocalypse. However, some may find it a pretentious ploy that goes on for too long. One thing is for sure: everyone will find it difficult to read.
X-Men Black: Mojo is a great follow up to the Magneto issue. Eschewing a more serious story for one that is silly to the point of being frivolous, Mojo is a fun read that will exceed the expectations of many fans and will have all looking forward to the rest of X-Men Black.
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