Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
The Black Vortex Alpha #1
Humphries, McGuinness, Anka, Farmer, Gracia & Maiolo
The start of the big X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy crossover kicks off in this over-sized, five-dollar, comic called, “The Black Vortex Alpha.” The book is straight-forward in the plot and doesn’t try to do much more than introduce the massive cast and present the problem at hand. The Black Vortex is basically a magic mirror and it becomes the object of desire in this issue for many characters. It’s a decent start, but this issue doesn’t sell me on the length of this crossover (a dozen or more issues). As an individual issue it’s a fine read.
The book jumps from scene to scene with blinding speed. This is a blessing and a curse. The book opens with a scene from the distant past. This is the formal introduction of The Black Vortex. It’s a weapon of sorts, but in the wrong hands it can really damage a planet of people. Fast forward to the present day and Peter and Kitty stumble on it and some villains looking to exploit the thing’s powers. Naturally they recruit help from their respective teams. This comes after they steal the thing. So with a host of villains after them, they basically lead their friends into a trap.
The comic advances so quickly that sometimes it forgets to stop and say something to the readers. For example, when Beast first sees the other X-Men he says, “Kitty is in space?” but this question comes after no spoken dialog informs the Beast that she is in space. Where did he get this from? Perhaps he read the recap page. The book also throws a ton and I mean a ton of characters into this comic book and that works against it. There are too many super-heroes for any foe to seem to have the ability to overwhelm them.
The book is entertaining in quite a few spots. When the book focuses on a couple of characters the dialog definitely has a level of charm to it. Whether its Storm and Beast, Peter and Kitty, or several others, the book comes alive. Generally, the comic book has a toned down approach, which works well with this type of cast.
The artwork is brilliant in spots and unfinished in others. With two pencil artists you might expect an uneven read, but this level of uneven is too obvious. Even in the spots where it is the same artist it appears that pages aren’t completely finished and this was covered up with inks and colors. However, many of the pages and panels pop so well, thanks to McGuinness, that it probably enhances the unfinished ones unfortunately. I think I expected more from this book artistically, especially with the name McGuinness attached to it.
This crossover could be a lot of fun. The opening issue covers a lot of ground and includes a ton of characters. Not being attached to any particular depiction I can’t say if the characters are within themselves in this issue but they seemed to be. Generally a decent start to this crossover. It won’t be for everyone and if you are curious and don’t mind dropping five bucks for thirty pages then gives this issue a try.
2.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles