Last month’s issue was the first time I tried this book. I was surprised. The writing was excellant. The art did not measure up to the level of the writing. This month’s offering has a different artist. Let us see if the writer hit it lucky last month or if this is a quality read.
A well-written X-Men book would be a change of pace from the flagship title. This book harkens back to the old X-Men days.
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Pencils: Rafa Sandoval
Inks: Roger Bonet
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Eric Gitter, the former X-Man known as Ink, is drunk and running through an alley. He is under 21 so he should not be drunk. If he was sober, he would hear them coming.
His pursuers catch up to him. They are the Hellfire Cult. They participate in hate crimes against mutants. Eric is aware of the irony. As he hits the smaller one, he touches the biohazard tattoo. This makes him sick.
Before Ink hits the larger one, he touches the Colossus tattoo. His fist shatters the attacker’s face plate. Eric tells them that they just got sent to the emergency room for a false alarm. He is not a mutant. He leaves them laying in the alley as he walks away.
48 hours earlier…Eric is talking to Cyclops, Sunspot, and Moonstar. They are breaking the news to him that he is not a mutant. Hank McCoy’s tests prove it. He wants to know how he got his powers.
Cyclops says that Hank’s theory is that the tattoo artist is the real mutant. Eric is surprised and thinks the artist will be surprised too. He wants to know why no one else received powers after being tattooed.
Cyclops tells Eric about a young man who blew out the wall of a prison to free his brother. The man had a bomb tattoo on his hand. Eric starts to leave. Sunspot says he is still a member of the team. Eric reminds him that no one on the team speaks to him. The only reason he joined was for protection. Since he is not a mutant, he doesn’t need the team’s help. Eric leaves. Moonstar is worried how many other gang-bangers have received the power tattoos.
Grace Cathedral, San Francisco…Anole and Rockslide are in a training room exercise. They are debating what to call the new Danger Room. Rockslide is glad Anole has returned. Dust interupts and tells them Sunspot and Moonstar wanted them ready to go in 5 minutes. They have a new mission.
The X-Jet, en route to La Jolla, California…Rockslide wants to know if there are only 198 mutants, where did the tattoo artist come from? Moonstar thinks there are only 198 known mutants. Some others have not been identified.
A tattoo parlor in La Jolla…Leon Nunez wants to know what was parked on his roof. Sunspot and Moonstar are in street clothes. They want to know if he knows he is a mutant? Leon says why not. Did he break some mutant law? He tells them to leave.
Dust and Anole are checking out his office during the discussion. Dust discovered a picture of Leon playing paintball. One of the players has the same bomb tattoo as the man who broke his brother out of prison. Dust tried calling the local paint ball place and it was out of business. The team heads to the abandoned park to find the fugitives.
As they search, Graymalkin tells Anole that he is anxious. Moonstar spots the fugitives. Sunspot tells the team they need to capture them and turn them over to the police.
The X-Men power up and attack. One of the fugitives has cheetah tattoos. He speeds up and claws Graymalin’s chest. Another blasts Anole with an eye blast. The man with the bomb tattoo sends Dust flying. Another opens fire with a gun. One of the bullets strikes Moonstar.
Sunspot grabs the leader and tells him to call off his boys. The X-Men have them outnumbered. The leader hits a button on his cell phone and tattooed gang-bangers come from every direction.
Back in the alley with Eric… as he leaves a voice tells him he is still an X-Man and his team is in trouble. He wants to know who is talking. A young girl in a X-suit steps out. Her name is Cypher.
The Good: Another good story by Guggenheim. I like the way he handles the various characters. Each of them has there own personality. The rookie status of this team prevents them from working together as well as the more seasoned teams. This allows the author to show how the bonds are being formed between the various team mates.
Eric’s personality is revealed in the amount of force he uses against the Hellfire Cult. He is cutting loose and not really worrying if he hurts his attackers.
Graymalkin has the potential to be one of the team’s better members. Guggenheim has to tread a fine line between revealing enough to keep the fans interested while still keeping him a man of mystery. The past X-teams have contained mystery people. The main ones being Wolverine and Gambit. Time will tell where Graymalkin will fall on the list. Fans loved Wolverine and Gambit but were not as impressed with Madeline Pryor.
I liked the way Sandoval broke down the fight scene between Ink and the Hellfire Cult. His use of panels show the influence of Frank Miller. This reminded me of some of the fights in the old Daredevil’s Miller drew.
The Bad: The art might have been a little better than last month but it still does not seem up to the standards of a X-book. The backgrounds are thin. More time needs to be put into drawing in the backgrounds.
If you exclude Rockslide, everyone has the same thin body type. More variety needs to be used. Go to a mall and look at crowds of people. Real people come in many different sizes and shapes.
Overall: This book has my attention due to the efforts of the writer. I still think the art is the weak link. With the right artist, this book could really take off.