Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Age of X: Alpha #1
Carey, Pierfederici, Hernandez Walta, Barberi, Wong, Fabela, Diaz, Milla, Davidson & Reber
Mike Carey’s opening chapter to his very own event titled, “Age of X” is actually a series of character studies that illustrate how some of the key players end up on the front lines of the mutant war. As Carey explains in his letter in the back, this issue serves not as an origin, but as an overture. He gives you some of the themes and sets the tone while giving a few different characters’ perspective as they head into what is the final battle with the humans for their existence. It’s a good issue but is it enough to get people interested for another eight issues?
The issue hits the ground running because from the very first page the story is in an alternate reality of some kind. Mutants are not the same mutants from the regular Marvel Universe and there is no explanation of any kind. Instead we see a few mutants sitting around a campfire clearly on the eve of some kind of battle. As they swap some stories we are then sent into the past to find out how some of these characters ended up where they are now.
The first character study is of Basilisk. Basilisk is Cyclops and his life consists of being the unwilling executioner of mutants held in the same prison that he’s held in. His eyelids were cut off and his mutant powers are controlled via remote control. The prisoners are just wheeled in front of him and someone activates the remote. This gruesome tale sets the tone here that humanity has completely shut down with regards to mutants. Basilisk has a lot of motivation to avenge his treatment and the murders he was forced to participate in.
The second story is about Cannonball and Husk. This story is much more straightforward as the pair search for their missing family members. It seems the humans that are hunting down the mutants have also begun hunting the mutant’s non-mutant family members. This story is something that mostly shows the horrors that the rank and file humans are willing to commit against their fellow man. They don’t question orders and are willing to do whatever is asked of them.
The third story is about Wolverine. This is the one story where the character has apparently not changed one bit. Wolverine crashes into a facility that is creating a mutant cure. In an attempt to destroy the cure he finds an unlikely human ally. The story reminded me of so many Wolverine stories from the past that I found it hard to believe it was set in an alternate reality.
Finally, we get a tale about Magneto. Magneto is clearly the main character and the driver of the mutant initiative in this event. Magneto manages to rally the troops to a single cause. It’s clear that the mutants are rather in awe of him and that the humans are generally afraid of him and his power.
The art takes on a unique setup as each of the characters focused on gets their own art team. This approach works very well because they are all flashbacks of some variety. All of the artists mesh together to hold the issue’s common theme of desperation, while helping to present the story as dramatically as possible. This was an excellent idea for the opening of this issue.
Carey is taking a gamble by giving no background to this story in terms of how it got this way versus the normal Marvel Universe. He promises a payoff at the end, but what he’s giving the reader here is enough of a start to make an interesting comic book and a fun read. Thirty plus pages of story for four bucks is a decent deal for the content here. I definitely recommend this comic book.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles