Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Super-Powered Comics: X-Men Noir #1

I reviewed Spider-Man Noir a few weeks back, and I finally got a hold of a copy of X-Men Noir #1 to follow it up. Fred Van Lente, while often a strong writer, has the ambiance of the period down right, but he doesn’t quite have the strength of voice that the Spider-book’s David Hine possessed. Nonetheless we get an interesting saga that revolves around the murder of Jean Grey, washed up on the docks from a watery grave.

We get to see the body through the eyes of new cop Peter Magnus, son of a very Magneto-looking police chief. Before issue’s end he finds himself inducted in to the police Brotherhood as we build towards the lines of the mainstream Marvel Universe.

The book’s true star though is the Angel. In an interesting twist, this isn’t Warren Worthington at all, but Thomas Halloway, the golden age Angel from forties Timely comics. Tom wants to know why Jean is dead, and the only lead he has is an X tattoo... the mark of the gang known as the X Men.

A visit to their former headmaster, Charles Xavier, sends him on the right track. But when he finds them at issue’s end... his welcome is less than friendly.

The book closes with a scienti-fiction story by Bolivar Trask, a story of futuristic beings known as Sentinels and the mutants they hunt.

X-cameos abound with night club owner Remy LeBeau and his bodyguard Lucas Bishop, Sean Cassidy, Officer Fred Dukes, and a certain red-headed daughter of the chief of police. Nice to see lip service to the extended mutant characters, but we will have to see how far they go with some of thse characters.

My problem with this story (other than another annoying $3.99 price tag) is that the mystery seems to be the mainstream Marvel X-Men’s origin. I will have to wait and see, and hope Van Lente and Dennis Calero have somewhere else to take this book.

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