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Dark X-Men: The Mercy Crown
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Dark X-Men: The Mercy Crown’ review

Writer Steve Foxe spins an intricate, action-driven, gory yarn.

It’ll perhaps be a good while before we get a proper X-Men film on the big screen again, but thankfully, Marvel’s comic book devision keeps the hits coming. This latest effort from the pinnacle publisher of graphic literature is a prime example as Dark X-Men: The Mercy Crown manages to be graphic in more ways than one.

While the U.S. government currently recognizes the sovereignty of Limbo, a Hell-like pocket universe ruled by Jean Grey clone and Goblin Queen Madelyne Pryor, its smoldering obsidian embassy overlooking Central Park draws protests from local rabble rousers and mixed feelings from the fearful public at large. In the wake of the Hellfire Gala, not to mention several similar attempts to establish mutant sanctuaries such as Krakoa and Genosha, Pryor seeks to offer amnesty to mutantkind with the aid of her newly acquired Mercy Crown (a dark magic spin on Cerebro) and her new band of X-Men composed of both old and new members (not to mention a few former villains thrown in for good measure).

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Dark X-Men: The Mercy Crown

Marvel Comics

Among the ranks these new Dark X-Men include Cyclops’ brother and Pryor’s current lover Havok (yuck, but whatever), perennial favorites such as Gambit and Archangel, Nightcrawler’s nefarious father Azazel, energy vampire Emplate, the mutant Maggott, a cybernetic Wolverine named Albert and puppeted by Zero, as well as rescued rookie metamorph Feint. 

As the team splits up to find Callisto and The Morlocks in the South Asian Sea outside Madripoor as well as the chlorokinetic Marisol Guerra (aka Flourish) residing in her fungal fortress in Querētaro, Mexico, they are pursued by Ochis (the franchise’s latest militarized, mutant-phobic, task force) driven by the sadistic robotics specialist Krol and his colleague Agent Vallens. In an undisclosed Orchis black site lies their bleakest weapon, a multiverse version of Pryor plucked from the deepest recesses of Limbo who, devoid of all humanity, manages to be even more hellish than the Pryor we know (and quite reminiscent of Purgatory from the bygone era of Chaos! Comics).

Dark X-Men: The Mercy Crown

Marvel Comics

This run makes for an excellent jumping-on point for unfamiliar readers as the recently released Disney+ series X-Men ’97 has already clued casual fans in to Madelyne Pryor/The Goblin Queen. While readers would have to have read prior issues to fully comprehend the fallout from the Hellfire Gala, said event more or less mirrors the destruction of Genosha showcased in that aforementioned series and comic book runs from the past. Writer Steve Foxe (Spider-WomanChasm: Curse of Kaine) spins an intricate, action-driven, gory yarn while Basilisk artist Jonas Scharf’s depictions of Limbo would excite the envy of Hieronymus Bosch.

Some minor critiques might be lodged with regard to the number of double wandering throughout this plot – including clones of Jean Grey and Peter Parker, multiverse variants of Pryor, a cyborg Wolverine. That having been said, fans of Warren Ellis’ run on Thunderbolts, Tom Taylor’s take on Suicide Squad or Mark Millar’s Wanted (really, anyone looking for stories that go deeper and demonstrably darker than what boy scout hero teams of goody-goodies have to offer) will rejoice in reading Dark X-Men: The Mercy Crown.

Dark X-Men: The Mercy Crown
‘Dark X-Men: The Mercy Crown’ review
Dark X-Men: The Mercy Crown
Some minor critiques might be lodged with regard to the number of double wandering throughout this plot – including clones of Jean Grey and Peter Parker, multiverse variants of Pryor, a cyborg Wolverine. That having been said, fans of Warren Ellis’ run on Thunderbolts, Tom Taylor’s take on Suicide Squad or Mark Millar’s Wanted (really, anyone looking for stories that go deeper and demonstrably darker than what boy scout hero teams of goody-goodies have to offer) will rejoice in reading Dark X-Men: The Mercy Crown.
Reader Rating1 Votes
9.3
Writer Steve Foxe spins an intricate, action driven, gory yarn.
Artist Jonas Scharf’s depictions of Limbo would excite the envy of Bosch.
The so-called “true” Goblin Queen is a villainess reminiscent of Chaos! Comics Purgatory.
Between clones of Jean Grey and Spider-Man, multiverse versions of Madelyne Pryor and even a cyborg Wolverine there are perhaps too many doubles within this story.
8.5
Great
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