Review - X #0

There are some people who glut themselves on the decay of a city, prompting a call for hero (anti-hero?) to step in and take out those feasting. How that individual handles their duty to a city is entirely up to them, even if it involves lots of blood and violence. X #0 from Dark Horse is a book that's heavy on all of the above.

The issue is written by Duane Swierczynski, with art by Eric Nguyen and colored by Michelle Madsen.

Three crime lords in the decaying city of Arcadia have received photographic death sentences from the mysterious “X Killer.” Their cunning defenses won’t stop Arcadia’s vigilante from making sure each one of them suffers. And boy does X test those defenses in his quest to make them pay for their shortcomings as good citizens.

Swierczynski's story isn't pleasant. That is, it's full of pain, violence and sheer anguish. His character X is unapologetic about his quest to punish the crime lords; so hellbent and blinded by his fury that he shows no regard for his well-being. Swierczynski knows about writing gritty characters, having done so for Punisher and Bloodshot and X is really no different than the other two. He's a firm believer of the eye for an eye mantra and relies heavily on solid doses of violence and violent weapons.

The story is chock full of grit and it kind of makes you feel dirty after reading it. Arcadia clearly doesn't make its economy run by selling rainbows and sunshine. It's a bad place run by bad people, which fully explains the need for X to resort to the violent methods. The "Pigs" are aptly named, gorging themselves on a city that's slipped so far through the cracks it makes Gotham City look nice.

Nguyen's art is equally as gritty. The pages are full of blood and gore, but not so much that it takes away from the book. It fits within the context of the story itself, a story that's not happy. X finds all manner of force to get his point across and Nguyen does a great job showing that. There are some panels where the blood makes it a little difficult to discern exactly what's going on, but the bulk of the issue looks perfectly fine.

X #0 is a violent comic that's unapologetic about it's underpinnings. X himself is a man who relies on violence begetting violence, showing little regard for his health when it comes to achieving his goals. The book is a little intense and may not be for everybody, but if you pick it up and can handle a crowbar through the face, X #0 is a solid book.

X #0 is in stores April 10 with interiors below.