Dark X-Men #2

Written by Paul Cornell
Penciled by Leonard Kirk
Inked by Jay Leisten
32 pages, color
Published by Marvel Comics

Having greatly enjoyed Paul Cornell, Leonard Kirk, and Jay Leisten’s collaboration on the short-lived Captain Britain and MI-13 series, it was nice to see the proverbial band get back together for Dark X-Men. What seemed like a shameless attempt to try and mix two best-selling words at Marvel ("Dark" and "X-Men") has turned out to be a pleasant surprise, almost a cross between Suicide Squad and Thunderbolts. Cornell mixes the pitiable, pathetic, and putrid characters into a dysfunctional team that in just two issues is on the verge of exploding, but in such a way that you can’t automatically assume that either they’ll get solidly back together at the conclusion, or lie scattered about in ruins. It’s strange and unpredictable, and Cornell’s clearly having a blast with the book.

Kirk and Leisten’s art is almost as I remembered it, but with some slight changes. On the bright side, they’ve still got a solid sense of layout and basic character structure. I like how Kirk never loses track of these being both superbeings and every-day people, giving them full wardrobes and every day objects. On the other hand, the number of old-looking, wrinkly faces in Dark X-Men is a little odd. I don’t recall Mimic looking like he’s in his mid-50s, so I’m not sure what’s going on here. Still, Kirk and Leisten nail the really important scenes, like a massive brain composed of the bodies of psychics, or Omega’s momentary anguish as he wonders if he’ll remember his new-found resolve.

If you’re like me, you’ve gotten sick and tired of all the various "Dark" titles being published at Marvel and are eager to see them all go away. That said? If there’s still a group of characters to return to, more Dark X-Men would be a treat if it’s Cornell, Kirk, and Leisten on board. This is more than a simple, one-note concept in their hands.

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