Marvel: Noir is where it’s at. No doubt about it. While the rest of Marvel is trudging through yet another massive event or four, there’s a nice little set of minis off to the side, set in funland, with, well, not new toys, because that’d be scary, but at least new takes on old toys. So, here we go, diving into the blackest abyss of Marvel morality since the last book Marvel published!
X-Men Noir #2
I was a little leery about the announcement that writer Fred Van Lente would be in charge of this title, and David Hine in charge of Spider-Man Noir, but after each produced a solid opening offering, I was relieved. X-Men Noir #2 hit the streets this week, and it continued to be of extremely high quality, though artist Dennis Calero, in his attempts to keep things dark-but-realistic slips up more than once throughout the issue.
Packed with so many references to X-Men continuity it should be exploding in my very hands, the book nonetheless gracefully handles almost all of them, creating analogue after analogue and making them work FOR the story! As baffling as that may sound, it works, from the pulp back-ups of Bolivar Trask’s old-school sci-fi hero Nimrod on through the ‘mutation’ that made the X-Men famous being emotional rather than physical, each analogue, each reference, each new revelation works within the story.
Easily accessible for both non-X-fans and the most hardcore fans around, X-Men Noir #2 slips up very rarely. Calero’s art is iffy at best, and the fundamental ‘good guy’ nature of the X-Men was a disappointing reveal, but it was nonetheless an extremely solid issue of comics, far better than most in-continuity stories you’ll be able to find about today.