X-Man, starring the Dark X-Men
The Dark X-Men mini shows its true colors – it's all about resurrecting Nate Grey for a new era of readers. Development of the foursome of X-Darks takes a backseat to finding a McGuffin that can bring Nate back to life.
Story & Script
This issue is all exposition to get Nate Grey back to solid form – except, he starts out in solid form and has no real reason to wink out of it. So, basically, this is a total waste of an issue. Half the book exposits who Nate Grey is while the other half exposits an elaborate way for Nate to rejoin the land of the living and touching.
Paul Cornell continues to write Mystique as “Stock Anti-Hero B: sympathetic but prejudiced against humans.” It doesn't make any sense, as he's typically one to bask in backstory. Every word balloon misses out on a chance to define where her moral compass sits these days.
Dark Beast is played for comedy, leading Cornell to completely miss the mark in his interactions with the HAMMER psi-division – Beast labels them “extreme,” but they actually come closer to his AoA experiments than almost anything else he's encountered outside of Genosha. He could have been more in-character and still absconded with his psi-cutie and dissected her.
Again, Mimic and Omega get a page each of dialog, with Omega being the first person to really address the moral dilemmas inside of HAMMER and to wonder if Osborn approves of all the means or just the ends.
Meanwhile, Cornell's masturbatory introduction boxes this time reference Rolling Stone songs, lamely assigning “Midnight Rambler” to Beast and not actually naming “Sympathy for the Devil” for Osborn. If you're going to use a gimmick as a way to introduce readers to every issue of your series, at least give it some serious thought. So lame.
We wind up with Nate Grey returned from the ether and pretty pissed at how the world has been ruined in his absence – which he apparently attributes all to Norman Osborn. (Apparently he has no feelings about Jean being dead or Cyclops being holed up on Utopia or Cable being marooned in the future - Nate's just pissed at Norman for manipulating a lot of Marvel heroes he's never met!)
Simone Bianchi's cover shot of Nate Grey is a stunner! Everything about it is awesome, from the crackling psychic power to the plain pair of blue jeans.
Inside, Leonard Kirk continues to thrill with graceful, legible art. He really deserves a promotion to one of the main X-titles based on the strength of this run. While he sketches Nate a little too old, everyone else is terrific – include a single page slam through the last three or four Marvel main events.
Kirk has struck gold with the sympathetic face of Omega – I feel like we see a DC Comics brand of expressiveness through his half mask that really doesn't get used too much in Marvel books.
Despite its amazing art, this issue is for X-Man fans only. Even they might be a little bored, considering nothing from page three to the final panel is strictly necessary.