Published on August 21st, 2023 | by Howard Smith
Dark X-Men #1 REVIEW @steve_foxe @scharf_jonas @nelsondaniel
Weeks have gone by since the fall at the gala. The rejects and freaks of the mutant gene find themselves in a haven called The Limbo Embassy. Dark X-Men #1 puts a spotlight on the darker side of the X-Men. They may be bloodthirsty, but they are still mutants, nonetheless. Alex Summers, better known as Havok, is trying to find his purpose with this rough crew and work on his wild relationship with Madelyne. The last time the Goblin Queen was involved there was a battle for the rightful ruler of Limbo. Now that the sovereignty solely belongs to Madelyn, she is tasked with both being the ambassador and protector of her mutant brethren. Elsewhere, Buddy and Carmen work on trying to find Genoshan power inhibitors but are exposed before they can get their hands on them. A few guest appearances make their entrances but not for very long.
Written by Steve Foxe (Artifacts, All Eight Eyes, Spider-Woman), Dark X-Men #1 focuses on the grittier side the Quiet Council doesn’t indulge in as they tried to avoid any bloodshed. Unfortunately, this isn’t those kinds of mutants that follow the rules or any rules to begin with except their loyalty to Madelyn’s seat of power. Foxe takes readers into a realm that exists outside of the normal X-Men. These are the mutants that were either in the pit on Krakoa or banished from the island. On top of anything else, they show no mercy or remorse for their foes. The interesting aspect of this story is that it deals with new challenges that characters must face. Despite what’s happening in their world, this comic book unfolds what these characters have been up to since the fall. At first, it didn’t seem like much, but they have been busy thanks to an attorney at law upholding diplomatic immunity. Currently safe from Orchis forces, these X-Men dwell in their own way of living even if it includes taking the lives of others. Foxe does a wonderful flashback that spans over the course of seven days detailing how Havok must handle all of the problems Madelyn should be addressing.
While the story proves to be a read worth looking into, the first half of the comic illustrated by Jonas Scharf (Cosmic Ghost Rider) riveted with fine work of detail and intrigue. For each panel, the characters stood out so they wouldn’t seem identical in stature or artistic preference. Each character had their own mannerisms and distinct identities. The artwork Scharf provided adds value to a comic book such as this. The work not only adds beauty to a darker side of the X-Men but also to the overall beat of the story. Scharf’s expression in Dark X-Men #1 forges a compelling story that readers will come to read with interest. As for the second half of the comic book illustrated by Nelson Dániel (Battle, ROM), his work is smoother and calmer. His artwork, unlike Scharf, doesn’t focus too much on the finer details, but rather the flow of the panels. Noticeably, Dániel can pack multiple characters into most of the panels illustrated throughout the second half of the comic book. It’s fun to see so much happening all in the span of one panel.
Speaking of panels, Frank Martin (Action Comics, Deadpool, Inferno) performed an amazing task at handling the coloring work for the comic book. The coloring in Dark X-Men #1 was above and beyond. Martin’s work and adaptive skill in coloring for two different artists on the same comic book from dark tones to lighter tones proves Dániel was the right color artist to call. Moreover, Dániel’s work allowed both parts of the story to respectfully radiate with their own artistic vision for Foxe’s story.
Clayton Cowles’ (Avengers, Aquaman) lettering for the comic book was attractively well done. Cowles’ style of lettering blends in perfectly with the artists of the story.
Uniquely, the cover created by Stephen Segovia (Evil Ernie, Green Lantern Corps, I Am Batman), and Martin is stunning. It captures the famous pose when Xavier or Jean calls the X-Men into battle. The title and image match what readers can expect when they open the comic book and find that the story concentrates on exactly that group of mutants. What’s even cooler about the cover is the use of color pallets that allow the cover to boom with significance in fascination.
Dark X-Men #1 should be one the comic book readers should pick up to know about what’s going on with characters after the fall at the gala. The mutants housed by Xavier are not the only mutants around and how they make a difference remains to be seen. Be sure to pick this issue up from your local comic book store or online where copies are sold. Don’t miss out!
Writer: Steve Foxe
Artists: Jonas Scharf, Nelson Dániel
Color Artist: Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artists: Stephen Segovia, Frank Martin
Editor: Jordan D. White
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment