Age of X-Man: Marvelous X-Men #3 // Review
Any fascist dictator would likely tell you that holding together an entire world under one vision is incredibly difficult. So many individuals have so many alternative visions that it can be all too difficult to suppress. X-Man gains a greater appreciation for this in the third issue of Marvelous X-Men, written by Zach Thompson and Lonnie Nadler. The story is given life by artist Marco Failla with colors by Matt Milla. A central conflict in the Age of X-Man materializes in the skies as Magneto and Storm conduct an in-depth discussion of life in a dystopia that is cut short when X-Man arrives in a dialogue-heavy issue that feels like it could have been framed better.
The X-Men valiantly save lives in the storm-wracked Bahamas. People with extraordinary powers save the lives of innocent storm victims. It would be nothing out of the ordinary was it not for the fact that the narration spends some of its time in the rescue musing on the necessity of disaster for homeostasis. All things need to be balanced, and so, therefore, there need to be disasters. The X-Men are in for a bit of a surprise when they return home to see how the TV news is covering their latest activity only to find that it’s focused on a public speech by a revolutionary who is speaking out against the establishment they are fighting to maintain.
Thompson and Nadler are doing a pretty good job of embedding abstract philosophical aspects of dystopia into the issue. There’s some pretty intense action taking place throughout the chapter, but it’s all so terribly bogged-down under the weight of so much dialogue and narration. If there was anything substantially poetic or insightful about the text, the issue might have felt a bit more substantial. As it is, the segment seems to hinge so heavily on the conflict between X-Man, Storm and Magneto and THAT interaction isn’t enough to fill the entire issue.
Failla’s work doesn’t help matters a great deal. Though the story moves across the page fluidly, Failla isn’t doing anything terribly compelling with the drama. The script is handing him a huge challenge in finding strong, iconic images of intensity to pair with huge blocks of text. He’s not quite up to the task of rendering the epic-level heroism that needs to be on display for the issue to have the kind of impact it needs. Milla is cautious with the color. There are some beautiful bits of luminosity including a few nice arcs of lightning and some cleverly cool retro patterns in the background, but Milla is mostly playing it safe with muted colors that don’t make much of an impact.
A lot is going on in this issue, but not enough of it feels consequential enough to have any real impact. The aerial conflict between Magneto and Storm and X-Man really should have had an explosive intensity about it as it is one of the few scenes in the series thus far that really speak to the central themes of the Age of X-Man. Too bad it feels so uninspired.