By Jeff Lemire, Charles Soule, Aaron Kuder and Morry Hollowell
One of the biggest question marks surrounding the Marvel Universe post Secret Wars was the whereabouts of Cyclops. There was an eight month gap that took place and certain events happened that readers were never able to see. This dilemma with Cyclops was particularly difficult because so many books made mention of what he did, but no books actually explicitly explained it. Now, with Death of X #1, we will start to get some answers to the questions that have hindered some of the recent X-books.
Let’s get this out of the way first; it feels great to have the real, adult Cyclops back in comics. Since his disappearance, the X-books have been missing something, and after reading the first issue, it was Cyclops’ powerful presence. Having said that, Death of X #1 is written by Jeff Lemire, currently writing Extraordinary X-Men and Old Man Logan, and Charles Soule who is writing Uncanny Inhumans. The two writers do a good job of showing the parallels between the two races. The mutants have their back against the wall as the find out the Terrigen mist kills their kind, and the Inhumans are overcome with joy and celebration as the mist brings new life to their species. The X-Men realize the cloud is a danger to them when a longtime friend calls for distress, only for Cyclops and company to find them as they die in Scott’s arms. Another enjoyable aspect Lemire and Soule do to make this an engaging read is that they don’t make characters act out of the ordinary. Cyclops is angry and worried, as he rightfully should seeing a friend die in his arms. The Inhumans celebrate as they feel they have solved the problem with their race going extinct. It was nice to see Iceman and Beast being somewhat cordial with Cyclops this issue as well. They may not be on great terms, but when things hit the fan, both characters were there to support Scott when he needed them as fellow mutants and former brothers in arms. This is a first issue, so a lot of it is set up, but Lemire and Soule have done a nice job of placing pieces and plot points that should keep readers interested in the next installment.
The pencils this issue are handled by Aaron Kuder with colors by Morry Hollowell. Kuder had a difficult job with this first issue, needing to show two completely different views on the Terrigen cloud. The X-Men’s panels had to be dark and dreary, while the Inhumans were filled with hope. In this aspect, Kuder was very successful. The second page of the issue parallels this well as the X-Men fly to Muir Island engulfed in the Terrigen cloud, and Morry Hollowell colors a dark greenish blue, which shows how cold and desperate things are for the mutants. The Inhumans on the other hand, are drawn with a bright sky, a gorgeous city, things look very normal. As the issue progresses, Kuder continues to show the parallel between the two races well. The X-Men are subjected to death as the mutants find several friends and colleagues lifeless. Kuder gives us an eerie panel of a dead mutant covered in blood surrounded by mist. Kuder draws the Inhumans are all smiles as they see new members pop up and celebrate. The colors by Morry Hollowell are huge this issue since he has the job of showing through his colors how sunny or gloomy the situation is. Hollowell does a great job of coloring the X-Men dark and the Inhumans light. They’re extremely similar, but Hollowell’s colors clear up that things are dire for one and flourishing for another.
Death of X has been a series and story fans have been waiting to hear since Secret Wars ended. The first issue did not disappoint and should please fans of both the X-Men and Inhumans. The pencils and colors were very good in this introductory issue. This mini series has the potential to put the X-Men back on top of the sales chart, where they belong. If the writing is consistent and Aaron Kuder continues to crush the art duties, this will be an epic mini.