Age Of X-Man – X-Tremists #3 // Review
As one might expect, keeping the peace in a reasonably totalitarian dystopia is going to bring with it a number of conflicts of interest both internally and externally as people try to reconcile what they’re doing for the establishment against their own personal inner morality. Things get considerably more murky for the members of Department X in this respect as writer Leah Williams explores in the third issue of X-Tremists. Georges Jeanty handles the art inked by Roberto Poggi with colors by Jim Charalampidis. Williams delves a bit deeper into the inner psychology of romance in a world where love is outlawed in a well-constructed emotional narrative.
There’s a pregnant woman chained-up in the basement. She’s a mutant who has engaged in illegal activity which has included pregnancy. No hospital wants to have to deal with her and sending her off to a detention facility is going to bring quite a few more problems. As Psylocke and the Blob explore chaste feelings of intellectual affection over books after hours, there is a suspicion that there may be those who are engaged in subversion. Clearly, there’s some sort of overt resistance against the order. At least one agent of Department X is determined to prove its existence.
Williams shows a deep understanding of emotional conflict in an issue which dives deeply into the psychology of those serving a totalitarian government. The romance between Blob and Psylocke is quirky and idiosyncratic enough to feel genuine. Williams cleverly treads the path of exploring complexities of life and love in a world that has come to control one and outlaw the other. The life of Department X outside of Blob and Psylocke gains a bit of depth as doubts about the nature of the department’s mission persist. As it’s covering personal lives and professional business and possible conspiracy within the organization, the issue could have felt quite scattered. Williams finds an emotional center to it that keeps it all together.
Jeanty delivers the story to the page with some sophistication. Certain particularly dramatic moments are framed with appealing layout...particularly the opening page which resolves the romantic cliffhanger that ended the last issue. The subtle emotions of Psylocke and Blob are refreshingly ephemeral, but the often blocky, blotchy rendering of curves and details between Jeanty and Poggi can sometimes rob moments that really should have come across with more grace and elegance. Charalampidis’ coloring adds subtlety and shadow that lends a bit to the mood of the issue.
Williams does well to focus the story on a romance between Psylocke and Blob. The specifics of that relationship add a delightful sense of sophisticated emotional connection that is so often missing from mainstream superhero comics.