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‘X Volume 1: Big Bad’ – Advance TPB Review

Dark Horse Comics brings us Issues #0-4 of X, the masked, one-eyed vigilante who has a singular view on how justice should be dispensed.  Written by Duane Swierczynski, art by Eric Nguyen, colors by Michelle Madsen, and letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft, it is the first collection of this ongoing series.

The city of Arcadia has gone to the dogs . . . or pigs, at least according to the man who intends to exterminate the men who have brought ruin to his city. Dispensing justice in the most violent way possible, X is a man on a mission without mercy.  A masked man with a red X across his face, his main objective in these issues is to take down the four men who appear to be responsible for much of the city’s decay and anyone who gets in his way. In fact, everyone in this city seems to be corrupt except for a former journalist turned blogger who takes it upon herself to track down X after she receives evidence that a former associate might have been murdered by him.  The tables are turned on her when instead of getting a scoop, she ends up helping X escape the police and having more questions than answers.

The story moves quickly and without remorse, much like its lead character; however, since it appears that virtually no one in power has any redeeming qualities whatsoever, it tends to make them one dimensional. Even Leigh, the blogger, doesn’t seem to have a life outside of her laptop. One has to wonder why anyone still lives in Arcadia and, if they do, where are they and why do they still live there? I would have liked to see a little more nuance in the characters and their motivations.  Even X is so ravaged by hate I think it would have added more to his character to see a tiny hint at some humanity within him.

Bloody and brutal, the art and coloring really hammer at the wretched depravity this city labors under.  Mr. Nguyen’s action sequences flow effortlessly from panel to panel. There is no hint of beauty, redemption, or shame in this unforgiving world.  The cover by Clint Langley and the Chapter 0 break by Raymond Swanland I found to be exceptional in conveying the internal anger of X and the allegorical boot on the city’s throat. 

If you like non-stop action with over-the-top violence, this is the comic for you.




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