There was a time when you just knew that if the X-Men were on an adventure in space that it was going to make for a great story! When you also include the addition of the Guardians of the Galaxy then you’re just dying to see the two teams back together again. I’m sure there’s plenty of us who enjoyed that Trial of Jean Grey crossover a while back. There’s also the talented creative team behind this issue that just pretty much should guarantee that the intro to this crossover makes you want to see how this plays out! Unfortunately that wasn’t the case as Black Vortex Alpha misses some great opportunities along the way.
This isn’t to say the entire issue is a miss as Humphries does well with setting up the origin of the Black Vortex. It’s an emotional sequence as an alien race is attempting to reach beyond their potential and one of them in particular is enraged at their latest failure. Fast forward several billion years and we see that the Vortex has ended up in the wrong hands and thus where the adventure begins for Kitty and Star-Lord. Moments like this were fun and exciting along with the Guardians’ game night and no one being happy that Rocket was the Game Master. However, most of the issue after this isn’t as entertaining nor does it really end with a worthy cliffhanger that demands you grab the next issue. Each part in this crossover should make you want to to check out the next especially if you’re going to pick up a title that you don’t normally read.
The art is handled by McGuinness and Anka and though both do well in their respective pages the switch between the two styles was so often it became distracting. Mainly because their styles are so different that the constant switching skews the pacing of the story in both the narrative and visuals. McGuinness packs quite the visual punch from the beginning and we even get a Celestial that bears a striking resemblance to a very powerful mutant. Anka’s sequences are a bit more inconsistent though the panels that have the inverted color scheme are a nice visual switch from the rest of the book.
Hopefully things can improve as Black Vortex moves along because we’ve already been shown that the potential is there for these teams to be in a fun crossover. With twelve more issues to go you’re going to have to make it worthwhile and throw in a surprise or two to keep the event weary fans invested. So if you’re a die hard reader of anything these teams are in then by all means pick this up but if not then just stick with the titles you’re comfortable with.