There are very few monthly titles left that establish a gritty and grounded look at vigilante action quite like X. Swierczynski has carefully balanced the brutal street justice with an engaging narrative that keeps pushing our unstable hero to his limits and beyond. He’s been betrayed, tortured, and suffered beatings that are usually reserved for that hairy little mutant with the claws. Through it all, he keeps coming back to finish his mission and kill all those responsible.
Peter Winter has come to Arcadia to meet with crime boss Carmine Tango. Winter is pretty clearly the type of guy to just remove you from your position and take over. Swierczynski makes their meeting the high point of the issue, and it’s filled with all of the tense moments and backstabbing that makes the meetings between those in power enjoyable. Though both men are “bad,” you just know that Winter is the greater of the two evils in the room. The events before and after this are just as strong and a bit disturbing, like when X is feeding dog food to a guy he’s been torturing for the past two weeks. These are just some of the questionable acts that make you realize that at times he’s just as brutal as the men he’s trying to stop.
There are several really good moments here thanks to Nguyen pulling all of the emotion he can from the script and moving the story visually. It took a moment to get use to the exaggerated limbs in some panels, but it’s not too distracting from the action taking place. Though I will say that it looks better during the action sequences rather than the more static scenes.
This issue ends on a pretty violent cliffhanger, which appears to be the norm to see X in these types of situations. However, it will be interesting to see how Swierczynski gets X out of this and how brutal the end result will be. Is he a hero? Anti-hero? A mentally unstable bad guy in a mask? Regardless of what category you put him in there’s no denying that Swierczynski has been making X’s adventures worth the read!
Till next time!