Prisoner X #1 Asks “Is This The Real Life, Is It Just Fantasy?”

by Tony Thornley

So far in the Age of X-Man we’ve seen characters we know and love grapple with a world that doesn’t feel right. In Prisoner X we get that theme elevated to an extreme as our heroes are trapped in a disturbing prison that may be much more than it seems.

Cover by Patrick Zircher

Vita Ayala, German Peralta, Mike Spicer and Joe Sabino bring us perhaps the most unsettling Age of X-Man story so far.

Bishop arrives in the Danger Room, the prison where deviants who break the rules of Nate Grey’s world are “rehabilitated” by Warden Forge and his faceless guards. He almost immediately finds himself in conflict with Hank McCoy, the leader of one faction of the prisoners. However, he also is haunted by strange visions, and an ominous warning…

Ayala’s has already proven that they know how to explore the themes of hatred and otherness that are so core to the X-Men line. Here though, they explore a disturbing mystery instead. The story is full of layers, from the obvious prison drama to the unsettling nature of what’s happening, and even some of the meta elements that only longtime X-Men fans will catch. It all comes together in a satisfying whole.

Peralta and Spicer work in lockstep to establish the tone of Ayala’s script. Peralta’s line art is a bit rougher and more textured than the other Age of X-Man artists, while Spicer’s colors evoke watercolors, combining to create a distinct look for this series. Peralta is also able to capture Bishop’s disorientation extremely well, between playing his flashes of memory straight, without any shift in style during those moments, and his character acting work.

This was probably the Age of X-Man miniseries I was most looking forward to, and I have to say it totally delivered.

Prisoner X #1 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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