X faces his greatest challenge of the series as four villains—suicidal maniac Deathwish, stargazing supercriminal Carmine Tango, risk-taking assassin Gamble, and a new threat no one suspected—converge on Arcadia’s lone vigilante . . . but the cruelest stab of all comes from a friend!
Wow. Before I even start, I just have to say this is a mind-blowing issue. Anyway, as per the previous issue, X has survived his fight with Gamble and made it back to his new hideout to recover. But he doesn’t know where Leigh is. We see that she’s being held captive by Tango and his cronies. And over the course of the next two weeks, They torture and repeatedly drug her, trying to brainwash her into believing that X is a just a hired assassin, who only goes after crime bosses like Tango because he believes that they owe him money, and that he had kidnapped her and has been forcing her all this time to help him, under threat of death. Meanwhile X has been combing the streets looking for her, to no avail. He even tries enlisting Ruidoso, who is still reluctant to help him.
Finally, Tango sets up a trap for X, using Leigh as bait. And X falls for it and is ambushed by Tango, along with Gamble, the woman who shot Leigh last issue, and Turner, the suicidal assassin from issue #9, who is now calling himself Deathwish. X fights the three henchmen but they overwhelm him, and managed to beat him down and rip off his mask, finally giving us our first clear look at his face (a brown-haired White man with one eye missing – there’s a big X-scar where his left eye should be). They beat him unconscious and then throw him down into some pit, with Deathwish, who spends the next 7 days beating the crap out of X, trying to force X to fight back and kill him.
Meanwhile, Leigh has been set free. She goes to the FBI, with a full typed “confession” of her involvement with X and all of his crimes, leading to the arrest of Ruidoso and all of his men. TO BE CONTINUED
Damn, I have to give credit to writer Duane Swierczynski, he’s not afraid to upset the status quo in this book, even when it was just established a few issues ago. After X beat Lt. Setter and had Ruidoso and his honest cops installed at the top of the Arcadia police force at the end of issue #8 it looked like X’s methods were proving to be effective and that things were really changing for the better. But now by the end of this issue he’s worse-off than ever!
See, this is why I love indie comics like this, and wish to encourage more fans to look outside of the so-called Big Two. Indie creators can take risks that mainstream creators can’t. If this same story were being told in BATMAN I’d know that Batman is going to survive and eventually get everything back to normal, but in a book like this I have no idea what they’re going to do or how it’s going to turn out. For all I know they might be planning to kill off X and end this series. This is why the stakes feel so much higher. I just love this! Also credit to regular artist Eric Nguyen who returns with this issue does his usual great job. Chacebook rating: FIVE STARS