Over the past two years, the mutants of Krakoa have taken to the seas as pirates, dabbled with the topic of post-modern religion, and fought in a high-stakes tournament of inter-dimensional proportions. In this week’s X-Corp #1, they venture into yet another frontier: the world of corporate espionage.
One thing I’ve been effusive about in the current Krakoa era of X-Men is that every new title announced has a reason for existing, which hasn’t always been the case. Some of them fare better than others, but they all fulfill a purpose and take advantage of the expansive sandbox that Jonathan Hickman set up two years ago with House of X and Powers of X. It’s certainly an improvement on greenlighting a new X-Men title with the loose premise of “a new team decides to form.”
As with lots of recent developments in the mutant world, X-Corp is predicated on a mythological deep dive to spawn a new story. With the original goal of the X-Corporation essentially made redundant by the founding of Krakoa, it was rebranded into a pharmaceutical company that Xavier used as leverage to ingratiate themselves onto the global stage. With business booming, they’re now looking to expand their scope into other industries, but it won’t be a smooth transition. Homo sapiens have historically been xenophobic towards mutants in their everyday life, so why wouldn’t that hesitancy apply to the corporate world as well?
Leading the charge here are Warren Worthington III and Monet St. Croix, who are both logical picks for the material. They both come from wealthy families steeped in business, and Monet, in particular, has ties to X-Corp’s predecessor. This first issue is very much a “getting the team” together plot that brings Jamie Madrox and Trinary into the fold, and although it’s an entertaining reading experience, I’m not quite putting stock into this endeavor just yet (a business pun? I regret nothing).
I appreciate what X-Corp #1 is going for, and I’m definitely interested enough to keep reading after this issue, but it’s hard to tell what it’s building towards. Maybe it’s just because I’m not the kind of person who obsessively checks stocks or watches CNBC, but I find it very hard to make stories like these exciting. There’s a surprising amount of action happening on the page as it progresses, given that the premise doesn’t lend itself to that sort of thing like X-Force or the like would, yet I’m still left looking for something to grab onto. I like the characters involved and the creative team attached, but it’s not as instant of a reader connection as some of the others have been for me.
Touching on the creative team, it’s definitely solid. Tini Howard has been a recurring figure in the X-Men office since the beginning, and her script—which admittedly trends on the overly wordy side—shows an affinity for Monet, who isn’t always a central figure in the wider X-Universe, which I can appreciate. Alberto Foche’s art is appealingly clean with some choice stylistic flourishes, and it manages to convey a lot of visual information on each page, which can be deceivingly difficult to do. X-Corp definitely has the potential to grow into something, but it’s gonna be a wait-and-see until then.
(Also, great cover art from David Aja, as is usually the case for him.)