Comic Book Review – Dark X-Men #1 (of 5) January 2010

Writer – Paul Cornell

Artist – Leonard Kirk

In the town of Burton, California, a group of townspeople are walking in a trance, repeating the words, “I am an X-Man.” They are all close to walking over the side of a cliff when suddenly the men and women regain consciousness, puzzled at what just happened. A tragedy has just been averted.

In New York, Norman Osborn has assembled his X-men – Mystique, Dark Beast, Mimic, and Omega. Osborn tells his team that this incident is the third one in two weeks and the first to make it on the news. He wants the team to travel to Burton and investigate this strange occurrence. Mystique, taking the form of Jean Grey, advises against the mission as she deems the trio of men mentally unfit and unstable. Norman tells Mystique it takes mutants to handle mutant problems and they are all he has available.

The foursome travel to Burton and visit a hospital to interview Mr. Fenner, one of the people involved in the sleepwalking incident. Mimic and Omega are able to tell that the man has no mutant powers whatsoever. When Mr. Fenner realizes that they are the X-men, Mimic starts to gain the ability to see the future, while Omega starts to absorb powers from Mr. Fenner, so much power that he’s about to explode. Omega flies through the roof of the hospital in order to ensure he doesn’t bring the facility down on everyone.

Dark Beast and Mystique want Mimic to go after Omega, but Mimic is frozen in his tracks. He’s experiencing a vision of the future of him, his wife, and his newborn child. Mimic never thought he’d have a family and is thankful for what he has, until he accidently shoots optic blasts from his eyes, killing his wife and child. Mimic, shaken to the core of this potential future, is unable to take any actions. Dark Beast doses Mimic with a green, gaseous vapor that sends Mimic into a frenzy and he flies off after Omega.

As Mimic tries to stop a rampaging Mimic from destroying the town, Mr. Fenner starts to shimmer in white light as an apparition springs from his head. The apparition starts to take human form as the being realizes who Dark Beast really is and that he’s with his mother. As the being pulls himself together, Dark Beast and Mystique are shocked to learn the cause of the problem in Burton is due to Nate Grey aka X-Man from the Age of Apocalypse reality.

After Secret Invasion, Norman Osborn was hailed a hero and formed H.A.M.M.E.R and led his own team of Avengers as the Iron Patriot. In an effort “to police the mutant population during riots in San Francisco that involved the X-Men, Norman recruited his own team to be the face of law and order for mutantkind.” Enter the Dark X-Men!

Reading this first issue, I definitely got some Suicide Squad vibes from this team of supervillains brought together to keep the peace. It’s mentioned that Norman has implanted a bomb inside of Mystique in order to keep her in line. Although it seems a bit derivative and oddly familiar, this miniseries has potential. Mimic and Omega both want to make amends for their previous lives as supervillains. One of my favorite X-Men comics moments is when Dark Beast took the place of Earth 616’s Beast for a time. It’s nice to see him included in this group of misfit mutants and I’m curious to see what will happen with the return of Nate Grey and how it will affect Doctor McCoy. I want to see how Mystique will outsmart Norman Osborn and come out on top and free herself from being manipulated into doing Osborn’s bidding.

I had Dark Avengers on my pull list back in the 2010s and I enjoyed the mix of supervillains and anti-heroes and how they interacted with each other. Dark X-Men was a great addition to the teams spearheaded and overseen by Norman Osborn. As I write this, there definitely could have and should have been a Dark Avengers/Dark X-Men crossover. A wasted opportunity if I do say so myself. Oh well, one can dream of the Sentry vs Omega and Daken vs Mimic and who would win out in the end.

After much deliberation, I ordered a copy of the Dark X-Men hardcover online to see what else happens in this miniseries. I hope to review the complete miniseries once I get the book in the mail and have an opportunity to read it.

Next Issue – X-Man, a.k.a. Nate Gray is back! Sadly, the X-Men that he first encounters are Norman Osborn’s X-Men and they don’t like the idea of an Omega-level mutant that won’t tow the company line.