It seems that everything old is new again in the comic world these days. Even the terrible comics of the 90’s are getting a second wind thanks to publishers such as Valiant, Image and Dark Horse. While many would rather forget about the 90’s era of comics all together, people are ready to forgive the sins of the past, and usher these characters into a new age. Honestly, did anyone think Bloodshot would be in their grab bag last year? The latest in the long-line of rebooted 90’s heroes is courtesy of Dark Horse, who are hoping the long forgotten X, can find a new place on the shelves.
Originally published in 1994, X is a definitely a child of 90’s comic rhetoric. The lone protector in the corrupt Arcadia city, X disperses a particularly gruesome brand of judgement. Master of the shadows, and handy with a knife, X has more in common with Ted Bundy than Batman, but when your city is as corrupt as his, a slap on the wrist fails to send a proper message amongst the underworld.
Swierczynski’s story telling abilities were fundamental in the relaunch success of Valiant’s Bloodshot last year, so it’s no wonder Dark Horse is hoping lightning strikes again for them. X #0: The Pigs benefits from Swierczynski’s decision to skip an origin story all together. Instead we are dropped right in the middle of X taking down some particularly dirty gangsters. The issue tells a very demented version of Three Little Pigs, with X himself serving as the big bad wolf. While not terribly original, the story gives the reader what they want. If you want to see a violent vigilante kill bad guys in fun and gruesome ways, this book is for you. If you want an in depth retrospective into the psychology of a mad man who masquerades as a hero, check out Batman. That’s not to say Swierczynski isn’t planning anything deeper down the line, this is just what is being offered for issue #0.
If the story feels a little simple, then the art department more than makes up for this with gorgeously violent imagery and unique character designs. The violent set pieces work extremely well, with just enough originality to X’s methods of disposal to keep things fresh. A car bomb loaded with nails is a great way to take out a couple of piggish gangsters. And boy, are those guys piggish. The jowls and chins of our overweight gangsters help shape what would normally be two-dimensional characters, into perfectly serviceable cannon fodder.
X #0: The Pigs is a great one-shot that sets the series up nicely. While it would have been nice to get a little back story on X, the way Swierczynski frames the action helps to keep things moving at a brisk pace. Tight, violent and cool, X is a throwback character who may just find his place in the comic world yet.