Marvel Knights: X-Men #1 by Brahm Revel (Comics Review)

Marvel Knights is apparently an imprint within Marvel where the stories are all told as mini-series. They are all a part of the main Marvel universe, but are still… separate. I read the first issue of Marvel Knights: Spider-Man a while but didn’t like it. It was interesting that instead of SpOck (that is, Superior Spider-Man aka Otto Octavius), it had Peter Parker, who’s been dead for a while. That was quite a different approach, bringing back one of Marvel’s most enduring characters after a long time.

Revel’s Marvel Knights: X-Men is set before the events of X-Men: Battle of the Atom, and consequently the team is still largely together, although we focus on a few key characters only. As it turns out, the fact that this story is set apart from the all the regular X-Men titles works in its favours and is a strength, rather than a weakness. If more X-Men series could be like this, I would have an easier time of getting into these books!

Marvel Knights - X-Men 01The make-up of the team in this series is Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey, Rogue and Beast. At least so far in the first issue. Perhaps in any future issue we’ll see the roster expand, but for now, I’m liking that the team is so small. Especially in the field, we see only Wolverine, Kitty and Rachel. The story itself is very small-scale and focus on what the X-Men were originally brought together for (in my limited understanding): helping other mutants and keeping them safe from anyone who wants to harm them.

After the entirety of the complicated story that was Battle of the Atom, its nice to see something simple and straightforward, and that’s definitely a charm of the story here. Don’t get me wrong, Battle of the Atom started off nice and simple, but it got hopelessly complicated in its second half and was messy in the end. With this new (limited) series, I’m hoping that things don’t go in that direction at all, because right now, a title and story like this is needed.

To match with the small (field) team and the story itself, the location is also small, an out-of-the-way no-name town in Western Virginia where some mutant kids are apparently in trouble of being murdered for who they are. And the antagonists appear to be local citizens with a very typical mentality. Rogue gives a very nice encapsulation of their mentality when she says that some towns get so remote and cut-off that they are governments on their own with their own rules. A dangerous environment for any mutant kid, growing up.

In some ways, this issue reminded me of Jubilee’s first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #244 by Chris Claremont. In that issue, we see how she is a bit of a rebel and survives alone. One of the mutants that the team goes to save, Krystal is reminiscent of Jubilee in that regard. She is nicely characterised and has some good moments in the issue.

There are some nice simple mysteries that are interwoven here. There is a lot of mutant activity in the small town and that in itself is a mystery. The issue ends on a nice cliffhanger, and I’m looking forward to where things go from here.

Revel does the interiors here in addition to writing. He has a very distinct art style that stands out from the rest of the X-books. He eschews the normal styles and his characterwork is also much more simplistic, with straighter lines and basic designs. The character’s aren’t very expressive and they all largely have the same faces throughout the issue, which is the only negative of the issue in terms of the art. With the colours, we have Christiane Peter (credited as Cris Peter on the cover) on the job and she uses a muted, dark palette that goes with the story’s title of “Haunted“. This isn’t a horror story per se, but it is a bit of a dark one in its implications. And it all works.

I have to say that overall, this was a much better Marvel Knights title than Spider-Man, which had some really trippy script and really, really trippy artwork which while innovative just ended up being confusing. I definitely liked it much better, significantly so.

Rating: 8/10

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Posted on November 18, 2013, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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