Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Leonard Kirk
X-Man is back and possessing the body of Norman Osborn. Things can only go up from here, right? Right? Mystique gathers the other Dark X-Men to find out how to exorcise X-Man from Osborn, because in some way, Nate Grey is worse than Norman Osborn. I just don’t know what way that is. Meanwhile, Nate and Norman have a literal battle of wits
This is a fun read. Makes me completely forget about how having a government-sponsored X-Men is kind of pointless when the president of the united mutants of the world, Scott Summers, very publically left the country with his motley crew of mutantdom.
Besides, this isn’t as much of team as it is mandatory service and group therapy all rolled into one. At least two members seem somewhat mentally unstable (despite one of them ironically making the most sense in this issue). And Dark Beast is just hilariously sadistic.
Osborn is true to form in his superiority complex. The argument can be made that Norman Osborn is a cheap man’s Lex Luthor, as with the Green Goblin and Joker. But the thing is – he’s kind of both and it works. His dual persona lends itself to some neat moments in this meeting of the minds.
Marvel seems to be on a ‘90s kick lately. Rewriting X-Men story lines (with a preview of X-Factor: Forever in the back of the book), revisiting Spidey’s Clone Saga. I don’t know what is bringing this on, but I’m getting a kick out of it. Reviving X-Man seems like another step in this revival. It’s really neat to see his reaction to the current state of affairs and just jump in and try to fix things. Although he didn’t seem as emotionally shocked at learning about old Ma and Pa Summers as I expected.
These characters make this book work. Their dialog is witty and snappy. You can see the ending of this issue halfway through the book, but this dramatic irony upon the characters is immensely satisfying.
With that said, this isn’t a masterpiece. When it tries to be somewhat deep, it just doesn’t come off well. Some of the pacing also feels a little fast at times, jumping straight ahead. Still, it’s a solid and fun read.
This is decent work, but it’s definitely nothing awe inspiring. Detail starts to get lost away from the panel’s focus. Backgrounds are plain. It’s paycheck artwork. Some cleaning up here and there could have helped. Some shots look like Osborn’s face is made of Silly Putty with the coloring and how the facial lines shape the face. Touching up lining after coloring definitely would have been a good idea.
This book does repeat panels a bit much, having three different instances. One whole page is simply repeating the same panel four times, not even making any changes until the last one, and even then only changing the facial expression. And through that whole time, pretty much just dialog. The other instances aren’t quite as bad. Two of the three are going for a particular effect on purpose, but it’s still a bit much.
Still, it’s always nice to see Dark Beast if for nothing else than to see the Beast I preferred.
Decent book. Worth a chuckle. It won’t win any awards or anything, especially not for art. Still, if you like seeing the continual breaking of Osborn’s psyche, it’s worth a look.
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10