X-Terminators may be out on September 21st, but AIPT got an advance look to tell you if the neon-drenched action frenzy of adult-tinged entertainment is as entertaining as it looks. Given the main characters are all energy-powered mutants–Dazzler, Boom-Boom, and Jubilee–it’s already setting off fireworks with its cast. Add in Leah Williams’ ability to write fun characters with modern dialogue, and we have a party you won’t want to miss.
And a party it is, with a breakneck pace, dialogue that zips, and characters that aren’t shy to be themselves. This book seriously moves quickly and yet, reads in a dense way where you’ll linger on Williams’ dialogue or Carlos Gómez’s pleasingly kinetic pencils. Just when you think a character is out of the woods in immediate danger, they’re thrust into another danger that requires them to think fast or die. The characters aren’t so much fearful for their lives as they are excited to stay alive at every turn, making the book more fun than perilous. You’ll enjoy experiencing the death-defying threats since they relish being badass.
Something appealing about this book is its parental advisory, allowing Jubilee, Dazzler, and Boom-Boom to be more adult and casual about doing adult things like drinking alcohol or commiserating over Dazzler dealing with a personal issue. Williams writes these characters in a realistic way, to the point where I wondered if the dialogue was straight from Williams’ real-life hangouts with friends and family. The characters talk and act naturally, making it a breeze to enjoy their company.
I wouldn’t say this issue is for adults only, but there’s some swearing, plenty of blood, and imbibing of alcohol. I will say I did find the excessive drinking early on in the issue a bit too much. It’s played up as fun without any negatives, but I suppose we’ll see if there are any hangovers by the time the five-issue series is done.
As Marvel’s preview shows, this issue has Boom-Boom blowing up vampire heads and Dazzler rollerskating through vampire blood. It’s grindhouse in the most fun way without disturbing imagery or themes. These characters have a ball, making it almost cartoonish rather than edgy. That will appeal to readers of any age.
This issue starts in a grounded place with some trouble that Dazzler is dealing with, but it quickly shifts to our heroes avoiding death and vampires. This isn’t a narrative trying to impart a message, but be light and fun. It’s a bunch of friends getting together to cheer up a friend, but things go sideways quickly. Of course, this story is much more outlandish, with vampires trying to kill our main characters. Even though there’s killing, Williams has said these defector vampires deserve what’s coming to them, so even the death is lightened a bit.
Gómez’s art is super fun and high energy. He leans into the grindhouse themes, be it blood or revealing clothing. Boom-Boom’s top, for instance, is pretty showy. That makes the book even more entertaining and different for an X-Men title since it leans into being proud of being so loud. Gomez captures the energy and personality of each character in unique and appealing ways. Williams’ dialogue certainly is a part of Boom-Boom’s closed and almost grumpy charm, while Jubilee is more open, and Dazzler is more of a free spirit. Through character acting, you relate to each one making it easy to connect with them.
Color art by Bryan Valenza is good, leaning into the bright neon-drenched vibe the story is going for. You could argue the visuals are like a cartoon which enhances the over-the-top vibe. Throw in data pages as loud as the colors and art, and you have a great visual package.
Props to Travis Lanham’s letters, especially the swearing. There’s a lot of swearing in this book that’s covered up with redacted black boxes and symbols. It’s a cool look makes the usually lame-looking symbol of swearing in comics feel more extreme and edgy. Lanham has to use emphasis for all the yelling. It happens here and there as one does killing vampires with high emotion, and that works well with the easy-to-read fonts throughout.
X-Terminators is like a fun night on the town, only that night involves blowing up vampires’ heads and loving every minute of it. There’s nothing else like X-Terminators in the X-Men line, making it a unique experience.
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