X-Men Noir

x-men noir cover trade paperback tpb
2.0 Overall Score
Story: 2/10
Art: 5/10

Some potential

Too convoluted and too hard to distinguish the unlikable characters

Comic Info

Comic Name: X-Men Noir

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Fred Van Lente

Artist: Dennis Calero

# of Issues: 4

Release Date: 2009

x-men noir #3 cover wolverine

X-Men Noir #3

Reprints X-Men Noir #1-4 (February 2009-May 2009).  When the body of Jean Grey washes up on the shore of Welfare Island in the East River, reporter Tom Halloway goes to the jailed Professor Xavier to question him about his studies of sociopaths.  Xavier’s attempts to teach sociopath’s to use their abilities branded them the X Men and ended with Xavier in jail.  Now, the X Men are in the wind and committing crimes around the city.  As Magnus and the police work to quash the X Men because they refuse to join his secret crime society called the Brotherhood, Tom has his own goals…and seeking out a former X Man woman named Anna-Marie could be the key to uncovering the murder of Jean Grey.

Written by Fred Van Lente, X-Men Noir is a Marvel Comics limited series falling under their Noir limited series imprint.  Featuring art by Dennis Calero, the issues in this collection were also included in Marvel Noir:  Wolverine & The X Men.

The Noir titles were something I can remember being released and staring at with little interest.  I like pulp heroes, and I liked books like Sandman Mystery Theater, but the Noir titles did little for me.  When I got a chance to pick up some of the digest size collections, I got a majority of them (minus of course the expensive Spider-Man Noir collections).  While the first few collections I read were mildly interesting and rather quick reads, X-Men Noir was a roadblock…and even powering through it didn’t help.

There are a lot of problems with X-Men Noir.  The plot is so unnecessarily confusing and polluted that any twists and turns that exist don’t really matter because you aren’t exactly sure what is going on.  The story is filled with flashbacks that fill you in on the characters backgrounds, but the flashbacks make about as much sense as the modern day stuff.

x-men noir #4 cover angel review

X-Men Noir #4

The art is a big problem with the story.  The X-Men wear garish costumes and the idea of these Noir titles is that they are heroes in the lines of Sam Spade or in the case of Iron Man a steampunk style mechanism to simulate the modern day character.  With everyone looking almost the same it take almost twice as long to read the issues because you are trying to figure out who you are reading about.

The next problem is the choices made in the characterizations.  I don’t particularly like the X Men or Magnus in this collection.  They all just come off as jerks.  The X Men being mentally ill sociopaths who need medical help instead of gifted people seems like a slight against the original idea of the X-Men which was about acceptance.  The story is further confused by the lead of Tom Halloway who is the World War II comic book hero Angel (they could have just made him Madrox or something to keep it in the X-Men) which is further confusing since he is not Angel from the X-Men.  He wears a costume and maybe glides?  It’s kind of unclear and further muddies the plot…I don’t care if he is a twin at the end.  I (like many) have no idea who he is, and why I should care about him.

X-Men Noir is a miserable read that maybe, maybe could have had some potential if it had been worked out, deconstructed, and better designed.  I don’t know that I blame Calero (it is his style for the series), but Fred Van Lente’s writing has been much better in other titles.  Keep to the other Noir titles (if you must) and avoid this one.  X-Men Noir was followed by a sequel series X-Men Noir:  Mark of Cain.

Related Links:

X-Men Noir:  Mark of Cain

Daredevil Noir

Iron Man Noir

Luke Cage Noir

Wolverine Noir

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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