The Black Vortex has been found, and its power has been realised. The latest epic to strike the X-Men has begun, this time with Sam Humphries (‘Legendary Star-Lord’) at the helm! But how does this first issue stack up?
In interviews, Humphries had said that the story starts out light, and gets darker as we go on. I have to say that, reading ‘Black Vortex #1’, I kind of see what he means; the one word to describe this issue is ‘fun’. Visually, the book is pretty gorgeous, with a massive artistic team who do a pretty decent job. Ed McGuinness has revelled in his designs for ‘Cosmically Enhanced’ characters, and already one hero is changed completely. And Humphries reveals another design, one full of grace and beauty.
That said, there is very real darkness in the book. The flashbacks to twelve billion years ago, to the world of Viscardi, present a very ominous image – they make us realise that the Black Vortex can be a curse rather than a blessing, and that perhaps we really don’t want our heroes to gaze into the Black Vortex.
Humphries presents the characters well, and throws in scenes that are going to be popular with the fans – such as Storm’s haranguing Beast over his ‘recent’ (last two years) actions. Even then, though, he presents a hint as to what will motivate Beast to look into the Black Vortex. At times, though, the humour feels forced – for example, I struggle to believe that Magik would ever use the word ‘gross’.
With all that being said, though, the reunion between the All-New X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy is really well done, with some excellent – and hilarious – conversations. One conversation in particular is destined to be quoted for a long, long time:
It’s nice to see continuity begin to dovetail between ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Legendary Star-Lord’ (it had been beginning to irritate me), although I confess to being mildly irritated that this story begins before ‘All-New X-Men’ has even brought the team back from the Ultimate Universe, and at a time when Brian Bendis has killed Magik in ‘Uncanny X-Men’. Continuity is just feeling rather strained to me at the moment, an unfortunate side-effect of using characters in multiple books at once.
Unfortunately, there are occasional logic gaps. In an earlier issue of ‘Legendary Star-Lord’, Mr. Knife commanded his Slaughter Squad not to look into the Black Vortex; he even killed one of them who did. Now, though, he has bade them all look into it (although for some reason he doesn’t seem to have done so himself). Visually, as before the only one of the now-Slaughter-Lords who interests me is Misa the Hunter, who frankly seemed powerful and cool even before the Black Vortex.
All in all, this is an excellent start, setting up the story and leaving us wondering: why does Mr. Knife want the Black Vortex? Why is Thane involved? And will the Black Vortex corrupt our heroes rather than just change them?