REVIEW: ‘Devil’s Reign: X-Men,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Devil’s Reign: X-Men #1

Devil’s Reign: X-Men #1 is published by Marvel Comics. The issue is written by Gerry Duggan and the artist and colorist. is Phil Noto. Cory Petit is the letterer. This is part of the Devil’s Reign event. Mayor Fisk, aka the Kingpin, has declared war on any and all superheroes in New York. The Baxter Building has fallen and many heroes have gone into hiding or been arrested. Next in line are the X-Men. U.S. Agent and the Thunderbolts are outside the Treehouse, the Krakoans’ new hideout in Central Park. But the X-Men are more than just New Yorkers, they are a diplomatic entity. And Kingpin has a past with Emma Frost.

There are two very different but fascinating stories being explored within this comic. Duggan introduces a battle of wits in the present-day story, tying directly into the current events of the crossover. But there is also a flashback connecting Emma, Fisk, and another character together. The structure of this first issue is built nicely. The flashback sits as a cold open before the main bulk of the story, leaving this overhanging fear. The suspense rises as the comic gets more heated. Fisk and U.S. Agent are practically begging the X-Men to fight them, and as the inevitable gets closer the tension turns nailbiting. Duggan brilliantly bookmarks the issue with a powerful cliffhanger. 

Devil’s Reign: X-Men #1 has a larger group of characters inside. There are two levels to how they affect the events of the issue. Those at the Treehouse are foot soldiers, ready to fight at a moment’s notice. There are some nice interactions between the Thunderbolts and the X-Men as old acquaintances meet again. But above all of that is the battle between Emma Frost and Kingpin. The script is beautifully written, delving deep into Frost’s unsavory past. Using their connections and their power, they engage in a war of one-upping each other politically. It is better to use Emma instead of Scott as this figurehead as she has a much sketchier past and more of a brain for this element of conflict. 

The art is terrific. Noto is a sublime artist. Beautifully clean lines and panels superbly present a blending of classes and worlds. The artist brilliantly transfers the shady characters of the past into the present, just adding more costumes. The costumed figures look incredible, but it is the facial expressions that shine. The devious looks as Fisk and Frost consort against each other are excellent, as well as the smirks as they think they’ve succeeded. The opening glimpses of Fisk are fantastic as they represent references to his appearances in classic David Mazzucchelli pages. One can remember the exact panel being homaged, helping to create a suggestion of the era this time period sits in.

As already mentioned, the characters look great. The only slight disappointment is that the X-Men team only consists of human-looking Mutants, such as Polaris or Wolverine. In fact, the more exciting figures are on the side of the Thunderbolts as the likes of Rhino and Agony appear.

The colors are brilliant. Noto does not fall into the trope of placing every part of the flashback sequence as one singular tone. There are filters but the color changes for each page and it doesn’t cover the whole area. Emma’s first appearance is inside a nightclub, so there are a lot of pastel colors and neon. But there are more contrasting colors, standing against each other. The colors by the treehouse frequently consist of green, brown, and the X-Men yellow but often diversify due to how many different costumes there are.

The lettering is the standard font that this period of X-comics has been using. 

Devil’s Reign: X-Men #1 is an excellent tie-in. In the main book, the involvement of the X-Men was teased, but it was difficult to know how they could get included. Duggan uses a very clever method of not only connected the characters to the event but adding a powerful arc uniting many of the event’s crucial figures. There is a great script that depicts a story with several layers to it and Noto’s art is simply stunning to behold. 

Devil’s Reign: X-Men #1 is available where comics are sold.


Devil’s Reign: X-Men #1
4.5

TL;DR

Devil’s Reign: X-Men #1 is an excellent tie-in. In the main book, the involvement of the X-Men was teased, but it was difficult to know how they could get included. Duggan uses a very clever method of not only connected the characters to the event but adding a powerful arc uniting many of the event’s crucial figures. There is a great script that depicts a story with several layers to it and Noto’s art is simply stunning to behold.