The enigmatic vigilante X has shattered Arcadia’s criminal triumvirate, the Three Pigs, and fixed his eye on an even tougher target. But with the police department AND the crime establishment teamed up against him, muckraking blogger Leigh Ferguson may be X’s only ally!
“FIGHT OR FLIGHT”
The creative team of writer Duane Swierczynski, artist Eric Nguyen, and colorist Michelle Madsen return (with a cover by Dave Wilkins) to give us the official start of this series, which I am late in discovering but very happy to be playing catch-up. Picking up from issue #0, the mutilated bodies of the squad of assassins, plus two of the three local crimelords who run the city of Aradia, have been in found in the warehouse where X left them. It’s immediately clear that the police department in Arcadia aren’t exactly clean, as the police captain in charge of the case is planning to just cover the whole thing up. Then we’re introduced to Leigh Ferguson, and ex-reporter who now runs a blog where she attempts to expose the corruption in the city. She was tipped off to the slaughter by an old man who saw the bodies while he was walking his dog. Leigh narrowly escapes being caught by the police, and determines to get to the bottom of it. Then we learn that before he was killed, Leo (the man in the panic room) mailed the pictures that X sent to him and the other crimelords, to Leigh, and she realized that the rumors of a masked vigilante killer are true. She’s the one who officially dubs him “X”.
We get a few glimpses of X in his home, which appears to be some cheap abandoned loft. We see him bandaging his wounds and doing exercises, although his face is always kept in the shadows so we don’t get a clear look at him. He’s also having flashbacks to his last encounter with Leo (did I mention that he shoved a crowbar through the man’s skull?).
We see the police captain meeting with a man named Mr. Berkshire, who has received a photo of himself with a red X drawn across his face, in the mail. Realizing that this means Berkshire is X’s next target, they set up an ambush. That night, when X crashes through the window to Berkshire’s office, the police are quickly on the scene, and a chase begins. Leigh, who caught the action on her police scanner, is also on the scene. And after several pages of a tense game of cat and mouse between the police and X, with gunshots, explosions, and lots of blood, X falls to the ground, landing right in front of Leigh, badly wounded, and he asks for her help…
And that’s it for this issue. This is some great action. I’m amazed at how effortlessly Swierczynski manages to hook you into this story, despite leaving so much a mystery. Who is X? Why does he send his targets those pictures before he comes after them? Why is he doing any of this? I have no idea, but I’m dying to find out, and will keep reading. Along with Nguyen’s artwork, this is one fantastic book.
Chacebook rating: FIVE STARS
Categories: DARK HORSE COMICS