Story: Leah Williams
Art: Carlos Gomez
Colors: Bryan Valenza
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
What They Say:
ENTER THE GRINDHOUSE OF X! When Jubilee and Boom-Boom agree to take Dazzler out for a night on the town to console her after her nasty breakup, they have no idea they’re about to be kidnapped and put into elaborate death traps for their efforts! What are three girls with the power to blow things up to do? Leah Williams and Carlos Gómez put the X in eXploitation in this tale of blood, sweat, and REVENGE!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Having not really read an X-book in years, this one drew me in from the visual on the cover, the cast of characters involved, and just the sense of giving it all another try one more time. The last series I read in full was the original Exiles series so I’m woefully out of date – though my X-Men reading began back in the early 1980s. This series has Leah Williams writing it and it’s an excellent and fun work right out of the gate, even if I’m just a bit leery of the setting for it in the back half. She’s got the dialogue and one-liners down well, and a sense of character and playfulness that reminds me of what I loved from part of the 1980s era. Carlos Gomez puts in some fantastic pages throughout with a great sense of layout and strong flow for it all, especially with as much action as there is. I love the character designs and interpretation here and just everything with how Bryan Valenza colors it, giving Gomez’s work even more vibrancy.
The premise for this is as simple as this; heartbreak. The initial focus is on Alison Blaire, aka Dazzler, as she’s throwing her boyfriend out after catching him cheating. I’ve loved this character since forever and she was the real draw for trying this book out. Since she’s in quite the mood because of this betrayal, she calls up local friend Jubilee to meet her at her favorite karaoke dive bar to get drunk with and that has her bringing Boom-Boom along as well. Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in forever, remembering that she was first introduced in Secret Wars II of all places. Suffice to say, she’s pre-gamed this event by drinking a good bit and is just there to get into things and have fun. It’s a lot of fun to watch as the trio roll into this with their distinctive personalities and different ways of supporting Alison, but it all comes together as a solid girls’ night out, even if only Alison likes this largely empty place.
And it turns out it’s largely empty for a reason as her ex, Alex, has now shown up and he orchestrated the trio to be drugged. Because, as it turns out, he’s a vampire who had a trinket that let him hide it from Alison the whole time. And these three are a big score for him as they all wake up in different locations where there are all sorts of ways for them to be killed. I’ll just assume this is Murderworld or some other variation on it since I’ve been out of the X-Books for so long, but the trio works through their different challenges while knowing there’s an audience after a bit and eventually all come together. It serves well to showcase how they are independent with personality and powers, and the way they tackled problems, but also how well they all come together when they need to. There’s still a surreal aspect to it as it gets closer to the end, reinforcing the otherworldly nature of what’s going on, but it throws a pretty expected popular character in right at the end that I believe is supposed to be a regular as it goes on. It’s a lot of fun even if it is moving through familiar motions.
I didn’t go in with a lot of expectations because I’m so disconnected from all of this but it did exactly what I had hoped. The book focuses on just a few characters without all the larger trappings that make up both Marvel and mutantdom in particular. What we get here is something that’s very simple and character-driven that then takes us into the wild and crazy stuff. The core trio we spend time with here aren’t deeply fleshed out but you get a sense of who they are and that makes it easier to go along for the ride with and see what it introduces us to. It does help knowing who these characters are since I’ve got old familiarity, but it’s also pretty standard stuff here. The artwork is great and the pacing is solid as it moves us from a breakup into a crazy world of death. It just works it works really well. I’m definitely keen to check out more.
Age Rating: 9+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: September 21st, 2022