If you haven’t realized yet the Age of X-Man spin-off universe is not a utopia, but a secret hell. Of course, if you haven’t realized that Prisoner X is going to help you understand that even more clearly as mutants are locked away in prison due to their illegal romantic relationships. Bishop is now serving time due to a potential fling with Jean Grey, but the question is, is the prison the walls or something more?
So what’s it about?
Read the preview.
Why does this matter?
So far we’ve seen characters unhappy with this new world, but for the most part, we’ve seen a generally good working society. This tie-in series aims to show us the dirty side of things and there isn’t anything dirtier than a raging, hulking, Beast screaming in your face!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This might be my favorite tie-in to Age of X-Man yet thanks to the well-paced narrative. Vita Ayala draws you into Bishop’s plight by sprinkling strange voices in his head, awkward interactions with characters, and a hint at something much deeper going on. You’re drawn into these little details in the best of ways which will get your imagination spinning as you try to crack the mystery. Seeing this prison from Bishop’s eyes is quite easy to do thanks to the reader being in the same place as far as knowledge of this place. It’s also fun to see how Ayala integrates other mutants into the story.
Gabby fans are going to love this too. She is strong, a bit of a firecracker, and makes trouble seemingly out of boredom. She’s under Beast’s protection and uses that against Bishop at one point for hilarious effect. When (or maybe if) she realizes what is going on I’m sure she’ll be the first to carve away at the culprit of this world.
German Peralta draws a great issue with fantastic panel work drawing you into the sorry state Bishop is in. Key close up shots of Bishop’s eyes says more than a middle shot panel would. Bishop is alone but also remorseful for what he did. At the same time, Peralta uses facial expressions to show the mixed emotions he’s feeling due to none of this making sense. Oh, and Beast with a crazy Amish beard is everything!
It can’t be perfect, can it?
A systemic problem with comics like this is it does indeed require you read other books to really understand what is going on. At face value, it’s clear something weird is going on, but why we should care isn’t obvious. Given that the comic book medium pretty much establishes you need to read other issues to enjoy a single issue this isn’t a big problem although it does make one think something is lacking in the structure of the story.
Is it good?
If all the “Age of X-Man” comics can be like this I’ll buy them all and scream it from the rooftops: this is some great event style comic book storytelling. This issue does everything right from establishing interesting clues to effectively putting you in the shoes of Bishop. A highly entertaining narrative stepping inside Bishop’s head and trying to solve the mystery.