Ever since Marvel kicked off all their post-Secret Wars titles, we’ve been told that Cyclops is dead but we’ve never been told how. That’s almost a full year of not knowing what happened and it’s been a bit frustrating. Enter Death of X, where we finally find out what happened to the original Cyclops. Is this comic worth the wait?
Death of X 1, co-written by Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule, is evenly split between the X-Men and the Inhumans, giving us a general picture of where each side is. The Inhumans’ scene is kind of fun, with Crystal arriving to a Japanese city to help oversee their new Inhumans as the terrigen mist approaches. It ends up being a battle with Hydra, who wants the new Inhumans for their own purposes. It shows off some of the Inhuman powers and the same kind of teamwork that used to make the X-Men special. One particular new Inhuman ends up saving them when Hydra starts to overwhelm Crystal’s team. There aren’t any big surprises here in terms of storytelling, but it serves as a decent introduction to the Inhumans to non-fans.
The X-Men portion on the other hand is dark, kind of depressing and a bit confusing from a continuity standpoint. There will be spoilers here, but it’s necessary to talk about these continuity issues. First of all, Adult Iceman is on Cyclops’s team. In previous volumes, he revealed at one point that he absolutely can’t stand Cyclops and flips out on him several times. The fact that they’re working together only raises more questions. They show up on Muir Island (also covered in terrigen mist) to find Jamie Madrox running the place with his dupes. Last we saw Madrox, he retired to the countryside with Layla Miller, his wife. Why is he on Muir Island all the sudden? And when did Muir Island start getting used as a research facility again? Last I remember, it was in ruins. In any case, there aren’t any surprises here regarding the story itself. Madrox dies of the terrigen mist, marking yet another character pulled out of Limbo just to get killed off. The character interactions are fine, but there’s nothing special about the writing here.
The art by Aaron Kuder is good. In some ways it feels like a throwback to Grant Morrision’s run, with the same kind of facial work and details in the environment. The mist over Muir Island makes the entire island look mysterious and dangerous with the dark shading, while it looks warm and inviting as it approaches the Japanese town, perfectly matching each scene’s mood. Facial expressions do a good job at conveying emotions, whether it’s Magik’s concerned look when things start to feel wrong or the look of excitement when Crystal introduces herself to the new Inhuman. Morry Hollowell’s colouring is great. The darker shade of mist on Muir Island compared to the lighter green in Japan really does help affect each scene’s tone, and there’s great use of shading.
Overall, this comic is just ok. If you don’t like the terrigen mist story arc, this won’t change your mind. Although the Inhumans scene is fun, it doesn’t win me over to their books by any means. If you’re on the fence about this mini-event, read it before you buy it. If you think you won’t enjoy this, you most likely won’t. If you think that you will enjoy it, I’d still recommend reading it before you buy it.