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Three X-Men Try To Stop A Killer In A Backwoods Town In ‘Marvel Knights X-Men’ #1 [Art]

Earlier this year, Marvel announced it was dusting off its Marvel Knights imprint — which had been dormant since 2010 — with three new comics under its banner. The initial launch of Marvel Knights was unquestionably one of the most significant moments in the publisher’s recent history. The imprint’s focus on creator driven stories, largely unencumbered by continuity, saw both critical and commercial success, and its effects are still felt today throughout the industry. You could argue that titles like Hawkeye –  which features a “B List” character operating in stories largely unaffected by the rest of the Marvel Universe — are direct descendants of the initial Marvel Knights launch, which featured Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada’s Daredevil and Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Punisher, among others.

Now comes this next wave of Marvel Knights titles, with three miniseries helmed by writers more known for their creator owned work. Each title has an interesting creative team, but the one that stood out most to me is Brahm Revel and Cris Peter on Marvel Knight’s X-Men.

Writer and artist Revel is best known for his work on Guerrillas. Collected by Oni Press, Guerilla’s is a historical fiction of sorts that features a secret project by the United States government in which a platoon of chimpanzee’s were taught to fight in the Vietnam War. As for Peter, she is a veteran and highly sought-after colorist, having produced excellent work on multiple titles for Marvel and DC, most notably Casanova. The two creators have teamed up for a mutant murder mystery, telling a story that focuses on Wolverine, Rogue and Kitty Pryde heading to a small backwoods town to save two young mutants from a killer, only to discover that their presence is both unwelcome and, potentially, detrimental to the situation.

When the X-Men are at their best, they work not only as metaphor for exclusion and oppression, but a way to explore the unique challenges and scenarios attempting to combat that oppression creates. The idea of three mutants — three professors who live in a mansion — coming into a small and secluded town to offer their help, only to be told it isn’t welcome, feels familiar. Not every citizen of each town that Harry Belafonte, an attractive and relatively well off celebrity, entered in the 1950s welcomed his assistance. Examining that kind of institutionalize resentment, through three of the X-Men’s more popular members, is an appealing use of the characters, and conceptually represents what many of us enjoy about reading X-Men comics.

MK X-Men page 1

MK X-Men page 4

Marvel Knights X-Men #1 (of 5) goes on sale in November.

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