The idea of reading a comic book about a bunch of scientists completely intrigues me. I don’t know what I hoped to find inside, but this wasn’t it. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this book; the writing and art are all acceptable. But if you’re looking for more than “acceptable,” I’m not sure it’s here.
“X-Club” #1 focuses on the X-Men’s science team (Dr. Nemesis, Kavita Rao, Madison Jeffries, and Danger) at the ceremonial (and also literal) opening of earth’s first “space elevator.” Magneto is on hand to raise a massive space station into space, and it’s a space station with a tether to the earth, which I guess is the elevator (apparently I am not as smart as any of these scientists). Cyclops is on hand to essentially “do PR” and throw public jabs about who the “real” X-Men are (i.e. The Utopia X-Men). As Danger coordinates with the other machines, she appears to be possessed by something. As a result, all hell erupts.
Simon Spurrier’s script is fine. It gets the job done, though the plotting is not particularly compelling. The highlight of the entire piece are Dr. Nemesis’ sarcastic one-liners, which are quite fun (Nemesis is always fun). However, when zippy one-liners are the highlight of a 20-page comic, there’s a problem. The characterizations are pretty thin here – Dr. Nemesis is the bitchy star of the show, Rao seems placed here just as a foil to keep Nemesis in line, Jeffries does little except for stand by Danger’s side as things go awry, and Danger is pretty one-dimensional. The latter makes it pretty difficult to care for her as she is possessed, or corrupted, or merely reveals her true colors (probably some combination of the former). In the end, despite how text heavy this issue is, not a whole lot happens, although the last panel alludes to an interesting development.
The art by Paul Davidson is serviceable. There are times and places when it is much more than that, but for the most part it simply does its job in telling the story. In fairness to Davidson, there aren’t many places to shine in drawing a press conference, s short battle, and the possession of a glorified robot. They aren’t wildly interesting, visually. The few moments where Davidson could have done something spectacular, he does something interesting about half the time. So, again, I end up with serviceable. Some of the rendering is quite beautiful, but overall the figures are very stiff and lack any kind of dynamism. In general there’s too much focus on excessive character detailing, while the backgrounds seem like an afterthought. One area in which Davidson excels, however, is on the technology front, as his highly detailed take on Danger is very good, and his space station has a lot of wow factor, both on earth and in space.
In the end, there isn’t much here to encourage continued reading, but if you really like these underused characters and have been wanting to see them get some panel time, it’s worth a look. Marvel has had a surprising number of very strong number one issues of late, and this, unfortunately, falls well short of those books.