Posted by: Brian Hibbs on August 10, 2008
Oh, NYX. You came and you took without giving. So I sent you away.
Fat lot of good that did.
Even after three years, NYX is still on my Top Five Embarrassing Marvel Moments list: a 7-issue series written by the EIC himself, with delays between issues that varied from nine months to over a year. The jokes would practically write themselves: it took Lance Bass less time to come out, we’d have to send our grandchildren to pick up NYX #8, Quesada was retconning every issue as he wrote it… the whole thing was one big fuster-cluck.
And now, here we are with NYX: NO WAY HOME #1, and all that baggage is… well, still around, really.
So what do we have here? It’s a six-issue miniseries by Marjorie Liu and Kalman Andrasofszky. While this is (as far as I know) Liu’s first work in comics, she wrote an X-Men novel called “Dark Mirror” a few years ago – it was kinda-sorta okay but lacked any real connection to the characters. It’s pretty much the same here, but before we get to that…
Okay, here’s the thing. NYX, at the time, was part of a whole movement at Marvel to deliver “edgy” variations on familiar properties. The high concept for NYX, as I recall it (it’s been three years and, quite frankly, it’s not worth the few seconds it’d take me to research – again, we’ll get to that in a bit), was a different perspective on the Marvel Universe’s mutant population. Not even street-level, like Bendis’ ALIAS; more like gutter-level, as far below Charles Xavier’s watchful eye as you can get. Of course, Marvel isn’t very good at being deliberately edgy, so you got things like X-23 being a prostitute.
So Liu’s not starting out from a great place here. And, more importantly, Marvel’s not exactly into “edgy” material anymore. You can tell as much from page 6, where Kiden seems to be injecting invisible heroin into her arm (although, bizarrely enough, two panels later we get a full-frontal shot of Kiden slicing up her arm like an emogirl who’s just discovered that Penance used to be Speedball).
Now, the research thing. You know, I’ve gotten pretty used to recap pages as a quick way of getting up-to-speed on any given series. And I’m honestly surprised there isn’t one here: again, these characters haven’t been around in three years, and that’s assuming someone was still reading when NYX #7 came out in 2005. I’d certainly given up by then. Liu tries to give us a brief summary of what happened, but that doesn’t tell us about any of the other characters. And because I don’t know anything about the other characters, and there’s no room in 22 pages to reintroduce all the players, I’m pretty much not interested in the cast.
(In fairness, this is a problem Liu had before – “Dark Mirror” ultimately failed to really get into the characters’ heads, they were all written in a very generic and middling tone, which is pretty much what we get here as well. The characters are just sort of… there.)
Now, it’s altogether possible that Liu and Andrasofszky will carve out a halfway decent story from this mess – they’ve got five issues to go, and the set-up is ostensibly finished (as opposed to Quesada’s run, in which six of the seven issues introduced new characters to the “team”). But we’re off to a EH start, because I think what this comic really needed was a reason to care about these specific characters and to be invested in their story, and it doesn’t deliver that.