Major X #0 // Review
Rob Liefeld’s bizarre experimental X-Men spinoff book, Major X, has finally come to an end. Convoluted, confusing, poorly designed, but still energetically drawn, Major X didn’t break any sales records for Marvel. However, as if resurrecting the spirit of the 90s in more ways than one, Rob Liefeld and Marvel have somehow decided to put out a double-sized zero issue to try and clarify the story. However, it’s also a reprint with an extra-confusing framing story surrounding it.
Issue zero of Major X’s framing device is written and penciled by Rob Liefeld. Inkers are Rob himself, Adelso Corona, and Cory Hamscher. Romulo Fajardo Jr covers the colors, while Joe Sabino letters the pages. The inner story, All Along the Watchtower, is still plotted and penciled by Rob Liefeld. Eric Stephenson is credited as scriptor, while Norm Rapmund inks the art. Digital Broome does the colors, while Troy Peteri provided the letters.
The framing device features Major X, now confirmed to be the future child of Storm and Cable, being welcomed into the ranks of the X-Command. Alexander Nathaniel Summers joins the ranks of Lieutenant, Commander, Captain, General, and Sergeant X. He is granted the Sword of X and is told the tale of how the blade came to be.
Inside the reprint, first told in Wolverine #145 and 146, Wolverine and Deadpool fight enemies from the future while Deadpool keeps secrets that could change his and Logan’s relationship forever.
The art and plot for the framing device are actually very well done on a Rob Liefeld scale. There are no anatomical errors, people are proportioned like people, and there even seems to be a form of emotion on Alexander’s face when he hears the story. Unfortunately, every single person in X-Command has some variant of the mish-mashed Major X costume. The helmets look like they come from heavily-armored combatants, but the rest of the costumes are skin-tight spandex with a few pieces of armor added for shoulder pads. It is truly a bizarre costume combination and really pulls the reader away from the book. The Sword of X is a simple design with a great origin concept, merely a katana blade that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the 1990s… but the reprint inside does nothing actually to explain the blade’s origin. That comes from a flashback after almost fifty pages of reprint material.
The flashback itself is generic, consisting of issues 145 and 146 of the Wolverine solo series from 2000. Liefeld introduces a new organization known as the Watchtower, who seek to manipulate mutants. The art is frantic and energetic but often takes place across blank pages or in extreme close-ups. This either speaks to the book being rushed, or it suffers from a similar fate that befell Major X, leaving the book feeling like it was made of old Liefeld sketches. The new characters made for the Watchtower look painfully generic, made out of techno-cyborg pieces and grim faces. It reads better than the framing device, but that is because the script belonged to another man.
It should be said, there is an interview included where Liefeld does explain what he wanted to do back in 2000 with his original Wolverine story. He had Major X planned the whole concept back then, or so he says, and the story was planned to be a longer epic. It’s mostly a fluff piece, but it actually is nice to hear how much of a fan Liefeld is, and how his early Marvel fandom has influenced his work.
In both eras, the art teams to a great job adding to the Liefeld experience. Adelso Corona and Cory Hamscher’s inks blend well with Liefeld’s own in the framing content, and it’s nearly impossible to see which artist took which page or panel. Romulo Fajardo Jr at least ensures the X-Command crew all look different despite being designed remarkably similar. The colors in the reprinted material genuinely pop, even using gradient shades to fill in where Liefeld left a blank page. Serious props to Digital Broome, as it gives some action feel to what could have been sparse and empty.
If you’re a fan of Rob Liefeld and Major X, this issue should be in your collection. It loosely fits with the rest of the storyline, and $5.00 for 60 pages actually is not that bad these days. However, the stories are flawed in a way that feels like they were created and saved in the 90s for a future era. As such, it is remarkably bizarre and tries to market itself off Liefeld’s name alone. And that’s just not enough anymore.