Nathaniel Essex, Mister Sinister if you please, had a dream. That dream saw the world turn most sinister. With a bit of genetic tampering, a few universal resets, along with great cape-wearing panache, that dream has become a reality.
Too bad for him, that dream is also a bit of a nightmare.
Unlike the ambiguity with Charles Xavier in the pages of Immortal X-Men #10, here in the first pages of Immoral X-Men #1 (with this three-issue deviation in a way serving as Immortal X-Men #10A, B, and C before #11 arrives in May) we fully know that the narrations happening are from a Sinisterized Emma Frost. In many ways these versions of the Quiet Council, and others, we see here are still the characters we know but all their inhibitions or bits that might have kept them closer to the line of doing good have been compromised. Sinister’s highly immoral center transposed on top of them to tip them over the edge.
Basically, the Sinister process turned the dial that was already at like a five up to a ten and then broke it off.
Kieron Gillen keeps the characters very similar but pushes them in a direction they always leaned but maybe didn’t fully go. Like how Charles is still very emotional and talking about the dream while doing terrible things to people, but Emma Frost is willing to do all the Emma Frost-level stuff she always has but with a deadlier edge because of the conscience and support she found to bring herself to the proverbial side of the angels is no longer there and she does not care. Having her as the point of view character and the one that brings Sinister to heel is a fitting one because the easy expected choice would have been for Kate or Hope or someone to be able to break from the Sinister process because of their innate goodness or tenacity.
Overall I quite like the choice that was made for this event, in having Sinister looking to compromise everyone with a bit of Sinister rather than filling the world with clones/exact copies of himself (clones being a move that he, and Gillen, have used before). I’m getting a lot of shades of the Master’s plan from the Doctor Who special ‘The End Of Time’ where he turned everyone into a version of himself, except that was harmony for the Master. Sinister’s mistake was thinking that the personality and power of these people which he wanted to maintain would not interfere with them installing him as their full leader. But as he tells the clone that he used as a sympathetic ear to rant to, he can’t trust anyone but most especially can’t trust himself and right now the council and others are basically versions of him.
Oh my gosh, the sheer Clarmontian (in reference to one Chris Claremont of course) essence that can be found in this issue is off the scales. That scene with Emma basically leashing and dominating Sinister to break him and get full control back for the council harkens back to a ton of that sort of energy that has permeated the X-books for quite some time (and one could say never fully left).
Lastly one of the things I think is the smartest and best in-character things has to do with how I began this review. Many compare this event to stories like Age of Apocalypse or others that saw the world twisted and turned upside down. In AOA, Apocalypse was able to control and shape the whole world in his image and ruled supreme until rebels took him down. Sinister is no Apocalypse, and his vanity and flaws caused a system where he got what he wanted in making the world in his image except it’s a pretty mundane world so far where council meetings and votes and other stuff still are the way just with everyone being a bit darker. Basically, everyone got their evil universe goatee but is just sitting around debating how or which evil things they will or won’t do, and Sinister is so depressed about it all. It’s quite delicious to watch.
This first round of Sins Of Sinister titles tapped Paco Medina for the art duties and this is such a solid choice. There is a lightness to the work that Medina creates, while also being very deep and detailed in many ways. One can very much feel a sort of superhero-esque quality that permeates the work with a very heavy focus on the more emotional/character body language side of things. We spend a ton of time with characters emoting, and conversing, with lots of close-ups and well-framed shots, so having that deft hand at showcasing emotions and body language is a must.
We get some great additional depth and power added to the pages thanks to the inking work of Walden Wong and Victor Olazaba. Together they create imagery that allows us to move through various unique settings while keeping a sort of overall cohesive feeling to every space we see. I mean hell look at those opening pages, that page with Fury and his team falling through the sky looking heroic before the insert panel of their fate is spectacular. Real superhero badass energy meets black comedy horror feeling.
Just like the inkers, there is a duo of colorists for this issue which are Jay David Ramos and Chris Sotomayor. In both cases, they are working with a color palette that has some medium-level vivid colors, while overall the work is very toned down as many of the settings and backdrops are very monotone or lacking in a lot of varied colors. It fits that this is a world that has been very slowly Sinisterized, some spaces are colorful and stand out while others are very clinical and almost bland like most of Sinister’s lab/lairs. In many scenes, the real pops of color are left for the costumes of the Quiet Council.
There is quite a bit of conversation and Emma narration to be found here, brought to the page by Clayton Cowles who made the jump over to these side books with Gillen from the main Immortal X-Men series. Truly I love the use of sentence case more and more in series for dialogue because it just easily sets up what is a normal volume or tone for conversations, allowing the letterers to really easily jump to louder or different tones in a moment. Such as when we see Sinister lose it later and the font explodes to a huge all-caps level that makes the speech bubble go big. Love that sort of stuff.
Much like the previous issue where Xavier was the POV character, Cowles seeds the Emma narration boxes perfectly through this issue to really frame the various panels and spread her thoughts out rather than boxes that are too wordy. We can move down through the page following those captions as we then gaze upon the character or action happening on a page, keeping us perfectly on track.
Immoral X-Men #1 is now available from Marvel Comics.
Nathaniel Essex, Mister Sinister if you please, had a dream. That dream saw the world turn most sinister. With aCOMICONRead More