Age of X-Man: Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #1 // Review
There are going to be severe problems in ANY world where individuals wield fantastic super powers. Even in a world where those with abilities are entirely accepted by society, there are still going to be particular problems. Writer Tim Seeley explores this a bit Apocalypse and the X-Tracts--another mini-series that fits into the massive “Age of X-Man” event of 2019. Salva Espin handles the art in an issue with color by Israel Silva. Though there are moments of true inventiveness here, the debut issue of this miniseries introduces so many moving parts that it may take a few chapters for the series to really settle-in to any kind of narrative momentum.
Dazzler’s playing guitar in some tiny cafe. Kitty Pryde and the multi-ocular Eye Boy are looking over an old artifact of another world. They’re called to meet with Apocalypse. In a world where mutants are openly accepted, and love is forbidden, the mega-villain is a pure peace-loving revolutionary. He and his team of X-Tracts fuse psychically to broadcast the importance of unity to every open mind. Meanwhile Omega Red impatiently waits in the shadows with an altogether less peaceful perspective on the world.
Seeley is playing with a lot of scattered energy around the edges of a shared dystopia. The very premise of the series has a disparate group of super-powered mutants trying to band together at the fringes of society, so the scattered nature of the narrative really fits the overall theme, but it scarcely adds up to very much yet. There are some exciting moments. Kitty Pryde’s shock of memories from another life at the touch of a menorah holds some power while advancing the notion that there are those who begin to feel as though the world they’re living in is a false one.
Espin brings the elements together with a single, cohesive visual style. The art delicately handles the intricacies of human interaction, whether it be Eye Boy’s feelings for Kitty Pryde or the uneasy relations between Apocalypse and his son. Espin dynamically delivers drama from interesting angles peppered by the occasionally witty detail. Towards issues end, there’s a TV set playing a PSA warning against the dangers of love. A close look reveals the model of TV to be an “Espintronik.” Cute. Silva takes a well-drawn series and embellishes it with a rich fantasy. Even idle moments feel charged. Kitty Pryde looks off into the distance at the bottom of a page...it’s a moment that could have been very casual, but Silva gives Pryde a gorgeous halo of light blue against a dark purple background...that and the highlights in her hair make for a gorgeously still moment. All she’s doing is telling Eye Boy that she doesn’t want to kiss him, but there’s this stunning drama about it thanks to Silva’s work. And as impressive as the show of the X-Tracts broadcast is, it wouldn’t have held HALF as much impact without Silva’s trippy psychedelic faux-iridescence.
As an introduction, the first issue of Apocalypse and the X-Tracts is a fun introduction to the fringe of The Age of X-Man. As a standalone narrative, it felt too flat and scattered to make much of an impact on its own.