Black Vortex #1: Review

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.

I’m not going to spoil it for you!

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’.

Real gross
I think Illyana’s Russian voice has just sort of vanished in the present books.

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:

Pet hamster
So now we know!

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?


5 Comments Add yours

  1. drewtrobbins says:

    It had Lockheed in it (and Rocket riding Lockheed, even!), so I’m happy! 😉


    1. Yeah, it was full of fun nods like that!


  2. Iñigo PM says:

    I am, too, a fan of Rocket and Lockheed! That said, I liked this book, both art and characterization. I didn’t mind the “gross” bit and despite having a huge cast, I think it was well handled. The art is gorgeous and I think the story has more juice than the Trial of Jean. I don’t care about that much about continuity but like you wrote, it’s difficult to place the characters at this moment, where does this fit? Does this even fit? And if you take into account both Bendis stories will end after Black Vortex, one is left wondering. All-New 37 will ship the same day as 39. I guess, after all, Magik will come back from the dead and the O5 + X-23 will get back from the Ultimate Universe. That, and with Secret Wars already knocking at the door, it gives me the feeling the aftermath of all those stories won’t matter in the end. In any case, this one seems to be a fun bookend. Loved McGuinness and Anka’s art, specially since the former has declared to be a big fan of X. I’ve been following Star-Lord’s title but I haven’t liked how Kitty is portrayed, just don’t feel like it’s really her but here it’s the first time I see her coming out of Humphries’ pen. To me, a good first chapter, let’s hope t gets better.


  3. drewtrobbins says:

    Honestly, I would love to see Lockheed join the Guardians if it meant he’d get used more. I’m sure Abnett and Lanning would’ve used him well. Not as sure about Bendis . . .


    1. I liked Whedon’s twist in making him a S.W.O.R.D. agent, it amused me 🙂


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