Marvels X is an interesting, broody, and deeply dark comic book tale with a shining light of hope. It’s a clever premise as it flips the usual superhero tale on its head by making an ordinary boy the real hero of the adventure. He’s the only normal human left standing in the future where everyone is a monster. This is a series I called “deeply human” and that continues on in the fourth issue, out today.
This issue opens with Tony Stark as David, the lead protagonist and boy who could save all humanity, ponders how it could get so bad when futurist Iron Man was supposed to plan for everyone. It’s a good way to tap into the darkness David is feeling as he’s trapped and kidnapped by Kraven. David ends up being the hero who can save us all that also needs saving. The key element that makes this issue work, however, is Spider-Man.
Series writer Jim Krueger writes some of the best Spider-Man scenes I’ve read in some time. The self-doubt is very real in his scenes as he first speaks with Luke Cage, and then speaks to himself. He says he’s really speaking to Daredevil, though, which might be a way to convey his inner monologue is reaching out for help always. There’s an interesting bit of searching Spider-Man does that makes him want to use his powers in a new way even though his Spider-sense has been diluted since Mary Jane died. You’ll root for Peter, want him to never give up, and in the customary fashion, he proves to us why we love him.
These scenes where Spider-Man reaches out and attempts to use his powers in a new way are beautifully rendered by Well-bee. The gritty and often overly dark panels at times are shockingly awe-inspiring. A moment where Peter looks on at the Empire State Building and a giant that has been speared into its spire is amazing. Spider-Man simply swinging around New York can look amazing too and there is an ironic use of webs Spider-Man must escape that’s powerful due to the pain it must be inflicting on Spider-Man.
There is more than just Spider-Man, too. Kraven is an interesting character here thanks to his hidden sense of self-destruction or the darkness that envelopes other characters. The story is taking a turn here, but it’s masked in shadow in the final moments thanks to a dark truth said by a character who can’t bear to stand around as the heroes think they’ve won.
True to itself, Marvels X is a dark tale wrapped in a blanket of sorrow, but there is still hope. There always is, which suits this prequel’s beginnings in Earth X.