We’re Going On An Adventure! Reviewing ‘Knights Of X’ #1
by Scott Redmond
Fans of magic and epic fantasy quests are likely to find a lot to like in ‘Knights of X’ as the ‘Destiny of X’ series makes its big debut and picks up the story of Otherworld. A gorgeous energetic and action-packed storyline that promises a lot of great things to come down the line.
Gather your swords, grab the potions, and find the snazziest and most protective set of armor because it’s time to go on a quest. After a few months break (first for a planned weekly event and then because of world shipping/publishing issues), the group formerly known as Excalibur is back and ready to take back Otherworld from a group that hates and fears them.
All cards on the table, while I was overall a big fan of what was happening in Excalibur there were times that I noted that it felt like the building up of plots and such were being strung along for far too long. That more plotlines and subplots were being introduced than those that were addressed/dealt with. In the end, though it all paid off as they came to fruition and led to this moment and new title. As the saying goes, Excalibur walked so that Knights of X could run.
Since the previous title took care of all the setup, this one is able to just dive right into the action and show us what has happened since Merlyn and his knight Arthur and their allies wrested the throne of Otherworld from Saturnyne and began to hunt down “witch breed” (aka mutants). It’s not a pretty picture. Setting us up with the Fury doing their best Sentinel impression hunting down a young mutant really sets the tone for the story and shows how dire the stakes truly are.
Tini Howard does a great job setting the various Betsys apart and building up the overall threat and reintroducing the cast alongside some familiar additions that rise from supporting to main cast this time around. While Rogue and Jubilee are out (one is in X-Men and the other will soon be in the mini X-Terminators), we get Rachel Summers (I refuse to call her Prestige) and Bei the Blood Moon and Shatterstar fully along for the ride this time. I’m a sucker for quest stories, so the twist on how Betsy can get her friends back into Otherworld, after the gate there was destroyed, is a great one and sets up a lot of interesting storylines going forward, especially regarding the exclusion of Jubilee but acceptance of her son Shogo who is back to a baby as a dragon glee.
Marcus To and Erick Arciniega did an extraordinary job at depicting and setting the tone of Otherworld and its vast variety of fantastical realms, and with this continuation series, Bob Quinn and Arciniega keep that going. Quinn’s artwork perfectly captures the fantastical energy that should permeate a title of this nature and makes some inspiring choices for paneling/layout. Overlapping panels are something I’m quite a fan of more and more these days, but one of the best was the use of Betsy’s TK signature as a weaving border around some of the panels.
All of the backgrounds and foregrounds are detailed, lush, and feel fully lived in and alive in all aspects of that term. At the same time, there is a great dynamic and almost frantic energy to the action scenes, especially the chase scenes, and an almost chaotic energy as well which is only natural for what is happening in this story/world.
Arciniega’s colors enhance everything because they are able to morph and perfectly fit and create the tone needed for a given scene. Deep shadows and darkness are always looming everywhere, but Lady Roman’s domain has a lighter more vibrant color palette compared to the heavier deep blues or purples for her father Merlyn’s domain. Popping fantasy/superhero colors are still prominent for the colorful cast of characters assembled, while the settings around them are given grounded toned-down styles.
When Ariana Maher is on letters you know that things are going to be really great and special. Her use of sentence case is truly one of my favorite things that she does because it makes sure that most dialogue is seen in the more ‘normal’ tone of speaking so that the moments of raised or lower tones actually stand out. Here though she gets to stretch out into magical and fantasy realms within the captions and for spells, and that will likely be a heavy part of this run which will be so fun.
Marvel Comics’ Knights of X #1 is now available.