Slightly Sharper Story Is Still Skippable
Victor Gischler puts his story into motion with an issue that balances action, exposition, and intrique, but still feels slight.
Story & Script
Gischler spends more time focused on specific X-Men in this issue and manages to find their voices effectively. Wolverine and Colossus communicate most of their strategy through movement, saving speech for irreverent jabs at each other. Cyclops continues to issue decisive commands that aren't the smartest, much to the chagrin of his “army.”
The vampire side of the script is what drags. None of them seem especially frightening, which isn't surprising, as mainstream vampires simply aren't frightening anymore – they're sexy and cunning. That's not so objectionable as Xarus's master plan – infect Jubilee to capture Wolverine so he can turn all of the X-Men.
Seriously? If you have all the vampire sects under control for the first time, why not double or triple your numbers by munching on a few major cities WITHOUT any superheroes to protect them?
Pitting Cyclop's dubious plan against Xarus's regrettable scheme is a pretty poor excuse for a six issue long arc.
Adi Granov turns in another stunning primary cover – especially his lithe, dangerous Blade. Readers with a sharp eye will note that he took some liberties with Wolverine's costume
Paco Medina is a strong penciler, and I especially like his efficient, easy-to-follow action. His slick X-Men look great – cartoonish without being super-deformed (think Bachalo or Humberto Ramos) – especially Cyclops, whose boyish appearance sans visor is obscured by his cowl, which makes him look stone-jawed and adult. However, all of the vampires look like attendees of a goth dance party, and Blade seems bloated. Maybe that's the fault of an especially vibrant set of colors from Marte Gracia, but it's not setting a foreboding tone for this blood-stained arc.
Gischler and Medina turn in a finer effort here than in their first issue, but overall the story suggests an unwarranted mini-series more than a new flagship X-title. The result is an enjoyable issue that's still easily skippable.