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‘X Volume 2: The Dogs of War’ – Advance TPB Review

Once again, the masked, one-eyed vigilante from Dark Horse Comics dispenses his own definition of justice in the second volume of the series.  Written by Duane Swierczynski, with art by Tony Parker and Eric Nguyen, colors by Michelle Madsen, and letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft, it covers Issues #5-8 in the series.

Now working alongside X as he attempts to rid the city of Arcadia of corruption, Reporter Leigh Ferguson has finally realized that she might be in over her head. Knee deep in the gore that X’s brand of justice requires, her psyche begins to fracture, as she questions her role in his plans; however, X’s mission has only begun, as he realizes that his murder of Berkshire opens up a gaping hole in the city’s criminal structure. He’s right, as in Chapter 5 a trio of assassins get a hold of an incriminating notebook which allows them to shake down pretty much everyone who has any power. In later chapters, X not only faces off with a “good” cop and doesn’t kill him but takes down a ruthless band of vice cops who intimidate lowly shop keepers into handing over protection money and whatever else they want.  Furious that his prize band of thugs was almost wiped out by X, Lieutenant Setter takes advantage of the situation and orders the few “good” cops left on the force to take down X. Finally, X is faced with a moral conundrum, as he refuses to kill those he deems worth saving even when they threaten not only his mission, but his life.

The story jumps ahead nicely without wasting a beat, and it was nice to see X faced with someone in law enforcement who is doing their job. Once again, most of the heavies are drawn as fierce and violent animals while the rest of the world is not, with the exception of the trio of assassins in Chapter 5. This lack of consistency makes me wonder what the point is. Why are some villains drawn as animals and others not? And, when the “good” cops are suddenly ordered out of their backwater assignments to a high profile task force, I find it odd that none of them ever wonder why (I saw setup a mile away; why couldn’t they?); however, I did like to see others in Arcadia who were not violent criminals and other normal folk.  The “good” cops were refreshing and real. Their characters were well developed and brought more depth to the world. Unfortunately, the interesting twist at the end of the first volume is not followed up here. I assume it will come up again in later issues.

Tony Parker’s art was spot on in Chapter 5, and Eric Nguyen works his usual magic. I really liked Alex Garner’s Chapter 7 and 8 breaks, as they literally zeroed in on X reflecting the overall theme of the issues.  The lettering was done well, and the sketchbook at the end is an added bonus with some very fun and cool alternate sketches of some of the characters.

Be warned, this is not a comic for those with an aversion to violence.




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