District X: #1
Writer: David Hine
Artist: David Yardin
a long running tradition of X-Men spinoff books sucking
I’m not going to mince words on this one; it’s
a good bet that any title with a capital “X”
in it is a waste of your hard-earned cash. Some books and
characters have grown and come into their own, but the X-franchise’s
constant restarts and big crossover events have stifled
story development and kept Marvel’s mutant books from
enduring like Uncanny X-men.
in a time where restarts and crossovers are disdained by
creators and readers alike, what do they do? Yup. ANOTHER
X takes place in the “mutie” section of
New York, an area overrun by the unemployed and illiterate
masses (though the assertion that NYC is otherwise America’s
safest major city prompted a loud “wha?!?!”
from me). Two cops, Gus and Ismael (the former a xenophobic
white guy, the latter an open-minded Dudley Do-Right) patrol
the streets, showcasing the mutant flavor of the area.
look: there’s the Russian immigrant who falls asleep
and starts growing roots every time he sits down for too
long. To this side, an insanely attractive hooker whose
sensuous hair has a life of its own. The waitress at the
diner’s got a werewolf-lite thing going on (think
Rahne Sinclair after a shave), the kid looking after the
cops’ car has fly eyes and split lips, and, oh, lookee
there: a teenage couple rudely changing colors and creating
a mini-light show because they’re high on some new
designer drug. Is that an inciting incident I smell?
first issue spends a lot of time establishing the characters
and that this is a MUTANT inner-city cop story. David Hine
does some subtle writing and gives us a slam-bang ending,
but I don’t know if I’m really interested in
the subject matter yet. What can we expect so far? Mutants
doing freaky mutant things in the background of every panel?
Little everyday incidents in their lives and how the cops
have to deal with them? Hasn’t that been the backdrop
for a lot of X-books, lately; just with mutant heroes filling
in for the cops?
give credit where credit is due, though: the creative team
does a very nice job with the material. So much so, I’m
more interested in them than the story. Hine’s writing
can be both clever and honest, elevating what could be lame
soap opera to a higher level. Alejandro Sicat’s inks
flow easily from heavy shadow to the lightest touch and
the Avalon team led by Andy Troy perfects a palette that
beautifully juxtaposes the desaturated hues of the real
world with the garish colors we expect on our mutants.
Yardin’s approach to the penciling is both realistic
and evocative, giving me hope that the story will stay with
the streets rather than focus on the weird superheroics.
His most impressive feat, however, is probably in his faces.
Not so much that they’re expressive (though they are)
but because they communicate everything the words don’t.
Looking at the Russian immigrant who grows roots, you could
tell his sister was Eastern European, a hard working single
mother, and far too used to this happening every day-- all
in about two panels.
next month, when Bishop comes to the fore-- oh yeah, this
is Bishop’s solo book, by the way. But when he comes
onto the scene, I guess we’ll see whether District
X becomes another gritty superhero title, Ismael and
Bishop’s quest to slay the whale of Whitey, or the
sly street story hinted at in this first issue.
if only it didn’t have “X” in the title…