Review - Mister X: Razed #1

"It's like the neighborhood is cursed."

Mister X is an architect who's developed a city. That city is more or less like any other city, yet Mister X goes to great lengths to ensure that the city treats its citizens with the same level of respect that its citizens treat the city with. In Mister X: Razed #1, Dark Horse Comics brings readers into more events overseen by the mysterious guardian. The issue is written and illustrated by Dean Motter.

Radiant City is a metropolis as mysterious as its alleged creator—Mister X. What should’ve improved the city left it cursed. Now, Mister X must watch over the City of Dreams turned City of Nightmares, keeping vigil during a holiday season that’s anything but jolly

Mister X has been around the block quite a few times and Motter brings him back for another go-round in pretty impressive fashion. Mister X: Razed #1 is broken into two stories that are tied to one another rather loosely, with both featuring Mister X in an investigative capacity to get to the bottom of two very interesting cases. Those cases feature Radiant City as a character and Motter exploits that in a way that really works and raises the importance of Mister X himself. The dialogue is snappy and provides a rather elegant back and forth among the characters, helping to propel the story further along to its resolution. Motter's choice to set it against the backdrop of a Christmas setting is interesting and adds another layer to the tale.

It's easy to say that the art in Mister X: Razed #1 harkens back to noir, but it might be more accurate to say that it keeps with the look expected from Motter's character and setting. Characters boast plenty of intricate detail that stands out against rather stark settings, yet Motter still manages to make that setting of the city feel like a character itself. Motter relies on black and white for the bulk of the issue, splashing in strong reds throughout that provide a very subtle accent on various parts of the action. The use of red in each story achieves a similar effect, but it does focus on different parts of the story as a means of accenting a specific tone. Emptying the gutters also lends a snowy, wintry credibility to the issue that furthers the narrative of a city during the holidays.

Mister X: Razed #1 is a very straightforward issue that features two smaller stories. Each story features the title character doing what he does best in helping to ensure that Radiant City doesn't hurt those it's not supposed to. Motter's grasp of the character and setting is very strong, likely owing to his deep familiarity and presumed excitement in returning to a familiar setting. Artistically, the look is clean for the most part, save for some renderings of pages where things appear to be a bit out of focus. Mister X: Razed #1 is worth checking out for fans of the character.

Mister X: Razed #1 is in stores now with interiors below.