When Mister X first came out of Toronto’s Vortex Comics way back in 1983, who would have dreamed its world could still generate quality stories thirty years later? After all, what dates more quickly than sci-fi depictions of the future? With technology motoring ever forwards, it’s hard for the imagination to keep up, let alone stay ever ahead of it. Yet somehow, with its fifties art deco tones and noir leanings, Eviction #1 manages to feel classic and fresh all at once, the perfect balance of old and new.
Series creator Dean Motter is back in force here, and he reintroduces us to a rich and fascinating world, a distant future as conceived by a bygone era. Rather than delving headlong into the science and technologies of the world, Motter finds truth in its modern, almost banal concerns. Phobias, neuroses, and infrastructure are its subjects of interest. High functioning alcoholic Rosey is the first character we meet, a sort of world weary Lois Lane whose Superman never showed up. She’s fixated on helping liberate her friend from a sudden and career threatening case of achluophobia (fear of the dark, as Rosey helpfully explains) she feels partly responsible for. Mister X, meanwhile, teams up with the police to help bring down a man who’s manipulating the city’s traffic with disastrous results. It speaks to Motter’s achievement that he can make congestion on roads a subject of genuine stakes. He’s spun a vivid yarn here, an issue with a whole arc for a sympathetic villain. The issue stands alone, but still leaves the audience asking for more.
It should be stated, however, that Motter’s art is a huge piece of the puzzle. Stylish and moody, it’s like the ultimate realization of what Bruce Timm was going for with Batman: The Animated Series. Strong silhouettes, buxom dames, big cars, and clanking robots are all handled with aplomb. Every page gives you plenty to look at, and even the paneling offers a little bit of flair. Mix it all up with some eloquent narration, and Motter’s clearly firing on all cylinders here. Eviction #1 serves splendidly as a reintroduction, and the uninitiated should be hyped to know there’s not only more to come, but better yet, a huge archive to dive into.