It’s hard to ignore that Marvel has their own “the dead come back to life” story going on right as DC’s “Blackest Night” is running, but then again it’s hard to not trip over a new zombie story these days. “X-Necrosha” has been slowly building over in “X-Force” for a while now, something that the introductory text page explains for those who might not have read the title. With this “X-Necrosha” one-shot, the writers for the three affected books (“X-Force,” “New Mutants,” and “X-Men: Legacy”) each get to stake out their ground and show what they’ve got in store in the months ahead. So far? There’s real promise.
The lead story by the creative team of “X-Force” is, unfortunately, the weakest of the three in the one-shot. As Bastion and Selene each plot villainous plans involving raising the dead with the techno-organic virus, it’s hard to not hear a lot of “muahahahahaha!” noises in the background. Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost’s script feels a little too over the top, too overly-dramatic. There’s lots of gloating and exposition going on here, and scenes of the dead returning to attack feel a little too trite, a little too obvious. It probably doesn’t help that Clayton Crain’s art is as dark and murky as ever. There are some scenes (like the arrival at Necrosha) that hit the spot perfectly and remind me why Crain is on the book. With spires of dark twisted metal and rubble everywhere, Crain’s able to make Selene’s new headquarters the dark and foreboding place that it should be. In other scenes, though, it’s genuinely hard to tell what’s going on as globs of darkness seems to fight for dominance on the page.
On the other hand, Zeb Wells and Ibraim Roberson do a good job with the return of Doug Ramsey, an event promised in the previous month’s “New Mutants” cliffhanger. Wells tackles Cypher’s powers over language and takes them to the next logical step, translating body language and architecture as well as the written word. It’s just a prologue to “New Mutants” #6, but Wells’ script shows such a deft handling of Ramsey and the rest of his strike team that it’s hard to not get more interested with each page. Roberson’s art is good here too, reminding me a bit of Andy Kubert’s art in how he handles faces and bodies with their long, lanky styles. If “New Mutants” ever needs a new regular artist, Roberson is definitely a go-to guy.
Mike Carey and Laurence Campbell round out the book with one of the only real surprises for me, even though with retrospect it makes perfect sense. Carey brings back a long-dead character with connections to several X-Men stars, and shows a great deal of promise in where “X-Men: Legacy” will go next. I like the interactions of powers that he’s come up with, and there’s just the right sense of doom brought about here that it ends the one-shot on a nice cliffhanger, and Laurence Campbell’s rough and ragged art is a great choice to help make Carey’s script feel that much creepier.
“X-Necrosha” #1 is a good way to kick off this crossover. It’s a shame the lead story isn’t up to par with its supporting members, but hopefully now that the exposition and set-up is out of the way, they can hit the ground running with the next issue of “X-Force.” For now, this is definitely proof that we can have two superhero/zombie stories running in comics at the same time.