Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Comic Book Week: NYX

NYX is a limited series by Marvel handling homeless mutant teenagers and their hardships on the streets of District X, New York City; the district with highest mutant count I the Marvel X-Men universe. Although planed as an ongoing series, NYX concluded at issue number seven. The creative behind it are writer Joe Quesada, currently editor-in-chief of Marvel, and artists Joshua Middleton and Rob Teranishi. Currently the series are re-launched, but about that on a later date.

After witnessing her father’s death, Kiden Nixon grows up as a white trash, sort to speak, never interested in what happens around her and in a conflict with the world. Things just go out of hand, when she develops the mutant ability to fall out of time and enter a new time strip, where everyone is too slow to notice her. The accident leaves her teacher Cameron Palmer shot, thus ruining her psychic health and leading her to an attempted suicide. Something Kiden prevents by listening to her dead father’s apparition. In a similar method Kiden helps X-23, who in NYX is a hooker, escape a crime scene thus getting her pimp pretty much angered and on their heels. The last to join the fugitives is Tatiana, who has the power to change into any human/animal hybrid by touching the animal’s blood. Now the chase is on and X-23’s pimp has called Bobby Soul, a man with a special talent. All there is left is to watch how the four have to survive on the streets until the crisis is solved and they find the answers to the questions in their life that keep torturing them.

The strongest quality of the series is the contrast between most of the X titles on the market. While the X-Men are all about fighting world domination, surviving impossible threats, spandex, jets, and mansions and in between romances, NYX shows the streets and life as the ultimate enemy. The characters are left outside a controlled environment to train and mature in their own powers and have to experience the bigotry and racism first hand. When they become extermination targets there is no HQ to delay the verdict, there is no back up team, there are no bad dreams, only reality. The characters have to find places to sleep and food to eat without money.

As suggested the series is darker on the survival aspects and deeply psychological as well. Kiden deals with the trauma of seeing her father murdered in front of her, which led to the falling apart of her family and as the story progresses she has to deal with his apparition leading her to new people to say. Cameron has to live with the thought that both Kiden’s mutant abilities are the reasons for her life being destroyed and saved. Thus she is torn between resentment and gratitude as well as overcoming her mutant prejudices. Tatiana must overcome the nature of her powers which imply using the blood of an animal to shapeshift, an act of cruelty she incapable of since she loves animals. X-23 is well violent in her inner dealings, but the focal point here is facing one’s greatest fear and conquering it. Old as the world theme, but certainly efficient and always current.

As far as the art goes, Joshua Middleton has a certain distinct quality, which makes his art really noticeable. Compared to others the best term I can think of is ghastly ephemeral, especially coverart. The figures are like pale apparitions that are to disperse even at the slightest tremble in the air. Although this doesn’t quite prevail all the time, his way of drawing is very distinguishable and I will leave it at that since I am not as articulate in art criticizing as with plot and story. My concluding words are that the series is a must if you like your story gritty and dark.

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