With the newest edition in the chronological Reign of X trades, mutant fans are welcomed with samples of the creative ways the X-Office are exploring Krakoan civilization across the entire line. While each issue here may not be the strongest in their individual runs, it’s a delightful assortment of divergent concepts that reflects the diversity of the line in recent years.
Bundled together are X-Factor #8-9, Marauders #20, X-Corp #1, and Way of X #1, and I must say that this is pretty genius grouping. You have a mystery book (X-Factor), a traditional superhero title (Marauders), a business-themed escapade (X-Corp), and a philosophical rumination (Way of X). Regardless of your personal tastes, there is something here to like and inspire further reading.
X-Factor by Leah Williams and David Baldeon continues to build on the haunted mystery of the team’s headquarters, tying it clearly to plot threads related to the Mojoverse from former issues. This run was unfortunately cut short without giving the Williams time and space to realize all the good ideas planted early on, but these two issues demonstrate just how interesting this series was in the greater Krakoan context. Baldeon’s art is stylistic, visually attracting and fits perfectly with William’s script.
The single Marauders issue by Gary Duggan and Stefano Caselli helps set up the Hellfire Gala event. While not heavy on the action, ample time is given to showing the strong character relationships between Pryde, Storm and Frost. Caselli’s art is vibrant and expressive and gives life to what is essentially a whole book of people sitting around a table.
X-Corp by Tini Howard and Alberto Foche is an interesting start to the short-lived series focusing on Angel and Monet St. Croix, as they develop a corporate structure to bring Krakoan resources to the larger world. I was excited for this premise when the book released, and the first issue is perfectly serviceable at establishing the main conflict. Unfortunately, the title simply didn’t move in any interesting directions following the initial pitch, and that’s a pity. Foche’s art fits the corporate veneer of the book, with large commercial-like spaces given focus in its design.
Lastly, we have Way of X by Si Spurrier and Bob Quinn, a title that is essentially a Nightcrawler solo title exploring the communal and religious developments in Krakoan society. Obviously, Nightcrawler is an excellent choice for the figurehead of this title, and the odd assortment of mutants he brings into his orbit to analyze his theological concerns gives this book a distinct narrative edge. Spurrier establishes the tone and direction effortlessly, with Quinn’s art blending with the script efficaciously.
While some of the issues here end up in unfulfilled runs, there are enough plot elements still being carried and explored by the current era of X-books and make this a worthwhile pickup.
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