Dark Reign-The List X-Men #1 Review

Matt Fraction has not impressed the Revolution with his work on X-Men. Normally, I would not pick up a spin-off. Then Marvel went and brought in the art team of Alan Davis and Mark Farmer. How could I resist? Davis is one of the top artists who has drawn the X-Men in the past.

Creative Team
Writer: Matt Fraction
Pencils: Alan Davis
Inks: Mark Farmer

Art Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Norman Osborn is reviewing his catastrophe files with Victoria Hand. They are endgame maneuvers that he has devised to take out other power players. Namor betrayed Norman so Norman wants revenge. Namor has to learn that you do not betray Norman without consequences.

Norman unveils his global aquatic warfare weapon of mass destruction. It is the beast who used to be Marrina, Namor’s former wife. She was part human and part alien. Norman had shark d.n.a. spliced in. This keeps her so hungry that it has driven her insane. He also had her modified so she only can digest Atlantean blood. The more she eats, the bigger she gets.

Victoria wants to know what strategic advantage they will achieve. Norman is releasing the weapon to slaughter the Atlanteans just to send a message to Namor. Norman releases her.

In the South China Sea, a large group of Atlanteans are harvesting food. Marrina appears and slaughters all of them in no time at all. Their bodies wash up on shore. Namor arrives and threatens war if anyone touches the bodies.

Namor approaches the X-Men in Utopia. Cyclops wants Namor to bring all of his people to his base. This will draw Marrina to them. Then two of the X-Men will use their powers to teleport them to safety.

Namor denies the X-Men’s help. He is a king. Emma explains that Namor will be ruling a kingdom of corpses if he turns the X-Men’s offer down.

The Atlanteans arrive in San Francisco Bay. They are teleported to the Norwegian Sea. The accumulated scent lures in Marrina. After a heated battle, Marrina is defeated. Namor flies her back to Norman’s base.

Norman is meeting with Sentry when an aide interrupts. An unidentified object is headed towards them. Marrina’s body is thrown through the side of the building into Norman’s office. Norman is mad that his weapon was destroyed. The soldiers jump to protect him. Norman tells them to stand down.

Namor hovers above Norman. Namor informs Norman that the weapon was his wife. Namor says that if he was willing to kill her then imagine what he will do to Norman.

We cut to Namor, Cyclops, and Emma watching the Atlanteans being teleported back to the San Francisco Bay. Cyclops tells Namor, “Welcome home”.  End of issue.

The Good: I have to start with the art. This is what X-Men art should look like. The Davis/Farmer team are equally good at drawing action scenes and people having discussions.

The list of good shots are endless. Norman’s rage filled face, the first reveal of Marrina to Ms. Hand, Marrina’s slaughter of the Atlanteans, the battle, the expressions on Namor and Norman’s faces in the final pages. It is impossible to pick a “best shot”.

Surprisingly, Fraction wrote a good X-Men one-shot. I like the idea that Norman expects the other power players will betray him. This shows intelligence on his part. Norman’s choice of a weapon was genius on his part. What better way to hurt Namor than to make his ex-wife kill his subjects?

Marrina turning into the creature goes all the way back to seeds planted during the early Alpha Flight stories by John Byrne. I am glad to see that Marvel is building on their past. Too often the past is ignored.

The Bad: Alan Davis and Mark Farmer are not regular X-team artists.

Overall: Dark Reign: The List X-Men #1 was much better than the standard X-Men story by Fraction that we have been getting on Uncanny X-Men. I would buy more issues of Uncanny X-Men if they were more like this issue. 



  1. Good review. Davis' art is beautiful as always. I am a little confused; Marina died waaaay back in avengers 290-293. Namor already killed her. This was a rehash of the story. Marina has gone crazy, oh no Namor has to kill her to stop her. Oh the tragedy she is dead by Namor's hand.
    Hey mr. editor I have a new storyline! Its going to be awesome! And its one of those tragic love-story things. We are going to have Marina come back, but this time she is going to be a monster, and the only way Namor can stop her is by killing her! What do you think?
    Mr. Editor: Great storyline! She's dead, but this is comics we can bring her back again! It'll add depth and angst to Namor's back story. I mean just imagine, he had to kill the same wife twice, cause she's went crazy, and turned into an evil monster… again. And what we will do next time Namor gets boring is something new… bring back his dead wife and make her into a crazy monster… and have him kill her … again.

  2. Marrina survived her 'death' in the Avengers and was mentioned as being alive back in Alpha Flight #78, and seen alive in Avengers vol. 3 #47 and 48. She wasn't resurrected just for this.

  3. Yes you are right: Marina wasn't brought back just for this. I remember seeing her "return" during Busiek's run. But so what. She really wasn't used since then.
    And this story just repeats the basic tragedy without really adding more.
    She is being brought back into Namor's life just so she could be killed again by Namor. Adding nothing interesting to either his or her story. Am I supposed to feel bad for Namor b/c this is a big loss for him? I don't buy it. It was like when they bring Terra back in Blackest Night… yawn… really! they haven't added anything interesting into Beast Boy's life since that one tragedy???

  4. Without having read the issue, I must say I agree with Anonymous. That issue is nothing new. Also it looks strange seeing Namor treating his dead-again wife corpse that way. Even leaving it to Osborn.

    Also Marrina was much impressive in her former monster state, destroying battle cruises with her tail and such.

    The sadest thing was that, for a second, I had the hope she was really coming back… Alas, poor Namor.


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