Extraordinary X-Men #1 will probably be seen as energetically drawn and colored sacrilege by both long time X-Men fans and ones, who jumped on with Bendis’ work. And for new fans, it’s darkness for darkness’ sake as the X-Men’s outsider metaphor is drowned out by the Inhumans and turned into yet another post-apocalyptic story. Lemire also makes a few stumbles in his plotting, like having characters tell about an upcoming mystery involving Cyclops and a cure for mutant disease instead of seeding compelling visual clues or starting to build arcs for characters. And his final page cliffhanger, which was probably meant to be the triumphant return of a “dead” X-Men, falls flat because it already happened in a Secret Wars tie-in. This is one is probably on editorial though. Even though Humberto Ramos’ manga influenced, yet wide-screen art adds some pep to the X-Men’s powers and fight scenes to go along with Edgar Delgado’s bold color palette, Extraordinary X-Men #1 is a misstep for the franchise in plotting, themes, and characterization.
Dan Gilroy’s latest, Nightcrawler, has a lot on its troubled mind. It intertwines our national obsessions with voyeurism and stardom into a sociopathic nightmare from which you can’t awaken. At its churning center is the mesmerizing performance of Jake Gyllenhaal, who charms you with his infectious intensity, even as he ruthlessly manipulates everyone and everything around him. As the blood flows and the crimes accumulate, Gilroy traps us behind the camera as his passive accomplices. Welcome to the world of the Nightcrawler. Showering after you leave is highly recommended.
Nightcrawler, the directorial debut of screenwriter Dan Gilroy, has a strong kinship with Sidney Lumet’s Network. Both take a satirical view of broadcast journalism, portraying the profession as a cold-blooded environment where sensationalism takes center stage. If there is one difference that separates the newer film from its 1976 predecessor, though, it is that the former possesses none of the latter’s biting wit. Nightcrawler is incredibly heavy-handed with its message, and the satirical dialogue is far from profound.