A Quick Review of X-Men Noir and X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain
Over the past few weeks, I’ve read the two X-Men Noir series. I like them both, but I’m not sure that Mark of Cain is a good sequel to the first series.
The first X-Men Noir is a really good read, minus the back up story of Nimrod the Sentinel (which is pretty terrible, worse than what would have been published in the period, far worse). What I like about the series is the reimagining of the X-Men as a group of teenage psychopaths led by (or mentored by) Charles Xavier, the Professor of Crime. I like this interpretation and the story works very well, from the Brotherhood being corrupt cops, to a very believable Sebastian Shaw.
The sequel doesn’t quite work, I think. The problem is, I think, that the story is too jumbled. In the first series, it was a pretty straight forward battle between the X-Men and the Brotherhood (with the murder of Jean Grey as a central focus). The sequel has a pretty straightforward plot,too, but it then gets confused. Angel, Cyclops, and Logan stealing the gem of Cytorakk and then trying to get the money owed to them (basically the plot of The Maltese Falcon from Gutman’s point of view) is a really good idea. But the problem comes in the multiple betrayals and plottings that things just fall apart. Mark of Cain would have been served much better, I think, having more issues devoted to it (the same is true of the first series’s backup feature which is way too short for a serial).
Now, the art is really good, I think, in both series. This is especially true of the backgrounds.
In the end, X-Men Noir is an interesting take on the X-Men mythos, but ultimately hindered by the limitations of a miniseries. But still, both are very good reads.