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Earth X #1

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The first official of Earth X provides a glimpse of the Marvel Universe 20 years into the future and it’s bleak.

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Writer: Jim Krueger and Alex Ross
Pencils: J.P. Leon
Inks: Bill Reinhold
Cover: Alex Ross

After a lengthy set up in the previous issueEarth X #1 brings the story to Earth, with added commentary from Uatu and the new Watcher, X-51 AKA Machine Man AKA Aaron Stack. I’m not sure what I was expecting from this issue/series—Marvels X has been spectacular thus far, while this original series seems to be a slower start; though the art is growing on me much more.

Earth X #1 is primarily about Captain America and Hydra—on this Earth, some sort of alien parasite. Before we even get to Captain America, Uatu does offer X-51 a recap of his origin and then time turns to their present. After 20 years, the Inhumans are coming home; only to find it abandoned. Their stop in New York, to find Black Bolt’s and Medusa’s son, leads into the bulk of this issue’s plot. This is a future where Spider-Man’s identity is known to the public as Peter Parker, and he’s not the fun, quick-witted web-slinger we’ve known from the comics. He’s lost his purpose with everyone also having superpowers. Captain America nearly gives himself to Hydra—things are not great on this Earth.

Earth X #1 is a slight improvement over the zero issue, however, there are still some pacing issues.

The story in Earth X #1 is still strong and I like what Jim Krueger and Alex Ross are continuing to build. This is a dystopian future where the heroes of old are starting to lose their way while there are people who don’t know how to use their powers running around; along with the seemingly unstoppable alien Hydra parasite. The biggest issue is that when the scenes jump from one to another, especially during all the business with Hydra, it’s unclear that it actually switched until another panel or so. Though I’m not sure if that’s a writing issue as much as it’s an art issue, but it does tend to throw the pacing off.

J.P. Leon’s art and Bill Reinhold’s colors grew on me with Earth X #1 over the previous issue. A lot of that has to do with the lack of blue hue everywhere. The color really does make a difference; however, it was difficult to see who the Hydra infected characters were (aside from the Queen, though it was only because of the dialogue I knew who she was). Partially because of that, it was hard to tell when a panel was going to a new scene; particularly the scenes that transitioned between Stever Rogers and Scott Summers.

Conclusion

As anticipated, the story improved with better pacing, but Earth X #1 does feel like the series is still trying to find its footing. The story is intriguing and, frankly, surprising—I was anticipating the story being largely about the entire world being filled with superpowered beings, but that feels like it’ll be more background noise. Krueger and Ross continue to leave the end of the issue in a way that keeps you wanting more.

Score: 7.8/10

Images courtesy Marvel Comics.

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Kevin M. Gallagher, Jr
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