The latest expansion to Marvel's ever-changing X-Men universe is actually a return of sorts, as X-Corp #1 reenvisions the X-Corporation concept in a post-Krakoa world. This time around it's really just a natural extension of what the X-Men are already doing in the worlds of medicine and international shipping, and X-Corp #1 wisely leans into all the scheming and ever present risk that big business brings with it. While it's only the first issue, X-Corp already possesses an impressive blend of charm, action, intrigue, and personality that has made Marauders so special, and if this issue is anything to go by, we might just have the next must-read X-Book on our hands.
Like Marauders, X-Corp strikes a lovely balance between big action and intrigue, and at times literally bounces between them from panel to panel. Where it charts its own course though is in how it executes that back and forth, utilizing its small but no less compelling cast to act as points of contact in each space, and each and every one of them brings something unique to the team.
Leading X-Corp as Co CXOs are Angel and Monet St. Croix, who can communicate telepathically from just about anywhere. As co-leads they are often discussing the next step in any given operation in real-time as they take on whatever else is on their plates. That can include everything from attempting to negotiate an attempted blackmail situation to saving an ally from an ambush; somehow in both cases neither Angel nor Monet seem to lose their grasp on the bigger picture.
Their personalities contrast strongly, but ultimately that's what makes them such compelling leads. Writer Tini Howard seems to have her hand on the pulse that drives both. Warren's charm has rarely ever had a better spotlight, maneuvering through the skies just as effortlessly as he can a hostile negotiation, and all the while holding a conversation with M debating what their next move should be. That back and forth is constant throughout, and thankfully never gets old.
That's as much Monet's doing as it is Warren's. Monet was absolutely created for this role and thrives in an environment that would overwhelm most. Her own struggles to control her temper and Penance in the process add a welcome amount of chaos to even the most mundane sequences, as her on the fly approach leads to some of the book's brightest moments. Even if readers disagree with her decisions (which some certainly will), they ensure readers will always be entertained.
Trinary and Multiple Man are also welcome additions to the cast, and allow both leads to shine in different ways. Trinary's rapport with M is already paying dividends, and anytime Monet and Jamie are in the same panel it's absolute money. This should only get better as the story continues, and artist Alberto Foche and colorist Sunny Gho know how to maximize those interactions through stellar expression work and impressive action. And is it just me, or do the skies open up with the voice of a choir every time Angel takes to the sky, because that's the impression every Angel in-flight scene gives me. No? Just me then, huh? Figures.
Now, it's not perfect. Sometimes the artwork doesn't match the tone of the dialogue, as characters aren't responding to the current stakes or scenario. That goes more for Angel than Monet, but is worth pointing out. I could have also done with less of Angel's dealings if that meant more of Angel and Monet together, but that's simply because they're so damn good together.
The ruthless nature of the business world is abundantly clear, and X-Corp not only leans into that nature but embraces it with all the wit and nuance that has made this era of the X-Men so compelling. X-Corp runs on the walk-and-talks of The West Wing paired with the chess game of Billions through a distinctly mutant lens, and so far it's working in spades. Granted, it's not perfect, but it's one hell of a start. I'm telling you now, you best get on board, otherwise, you're going to miss out on what promises to be an amazing ride.
Published by Marvel Comics
On May 12, 2021
Written by Tini Howard
Art by Alberto Foche
Colors by Sunny Gho
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover by David Aja