Back when All-New All Different Marvel began, I started reading all the X-Men comics. Although I liked the concept of Uncanny X-men, a team made up mostly of former villains, the writing in the first arc wasn’t all that special. Greg Land’s art didn’t help either. Worst of all, they seemed to pointlessly kill off Elixir. I dropped it after just 2 issues, although I’ve heard it’s improved a lot since then. So when they released an annual without Greg Land with a resurrected Elixir, I had to give it a chance. I’m so glad that I did.
There are two stories in this comic. The main one, written by Cullen Bunn, focuses entirely on Elixir’s resurrection and his drastically changed powers. Magneto’s team soon arrives to see him seemingly resurrecting and killing Gauntlet, one of the people who killed him back in issue 2. Elixir’s increase in power is also affecting his mind – he can’t control himself at all. Elixir’s attempts half-way through the comic to cure M-pox actually gives a sense of hope to the terrigen mist story arc, but not without a compelling drawback. It’s that balance that gives this comic a lot of depth, and Magneto shows a lot of wisdom in his final decision for what to do with Elixir.
The art in this story is handled by Ken Lashley, and it’s good. It’s a bit of a gritty, detailed look, but more than clean enough that you can see everything that’s going on. When Elixir is basically torturing gauntlet, the images are kind of horrific. The concerned looks that Monet and Sabretooth give when he tries to resurrect a bunch of mutants at once say it all. The colouring by Nolan Woodard may just be the highlight of this story. The nighttime opening makes great use of contrast with Elixir’s gold skin and the lights when he uses his resurrection ability, with Gauntlet’s greyed out zombie-ish body. The battle between Elixir’s healing side and death side is perfectly illustrated when you see his full body for the first time, with parts of his body glowing gold and other parts jet black. This is used to even greater effect when he tries to heal people of M-pox. Everything is bright and glorious one page, but it turns into a darkened nightmare the next.
The backup story is written, drawn and coloured by Anthony Piper, and it’s all about Domino. She’s taking on a bunch of ex-military people who are killing mutants, not unlike the Purifiers. This story is just fun, while also being a neat exploration of Domino’s luck powers and her balancing it with a touch of strategy. The best part is a clearly unsubtle jab at Batman v. Superman with the greatest punchline possible. The art is also good. It’s a simple look, but it’s smooth. The looks on the goon’s faces after Domino eliminates them is often funny, adding to this story’s sense of humour.
I’m so glad I picked this up. The main story is a complete story that’s dark while giving a sense of hope to the very depressing terrigen mist storyline, and the backup story is just plain fun. Fans of the Academy X generation of X-Men will probably enjoy the strong focus on Elixir and his developing powers. Domino fans will probably love the backup story. Those who are either enjoying the terrigen mist story arc or want it to end should at least give this a read.