Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1 Review: Rod Reis's Art Stuns

A lot is happening in the Mutant corner of the Marvel universe under "Head of X" Jonathan Hickman's supervision. As a team of writers, including Tini Howard and Vita Ayala and more, run their own X-titles and prepare for the X of Swords crossover, Hickman himself teamed up with artist Rod Reis and letterer VC's Ariana Maher for a one-shot story about Fantomex with Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1.

Rod Reis delivers a stunning cover for Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1. Credit: Marvel
Rod Reis delivers a stunning cover for Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1. Credit: Marvel

It has to be said outright: Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1 is a perfect comic book. Hickman and Reis, both credited for the plot here, deliver a simply told story that revisits Fantomex's life, starting from his birth, in ten-year intervals as he revisits the World. The World is a secret dimension of a sort where experiments, including the one that made him who he is, take place. Fantomex takes a different team of allies (read as bait, mostly, but distractions at the absolute best) with him so he can get in there and check in with someone from his past. It's a one-shot comic that reads more like a classic short story by Bradbury or Vonnegut than something the unfamiliar would expect in a superhero comic.

The art of Fantomex is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, with pages from Rod Reis that are utterly unique in style. Every sequence is stunning, from the close-ups on character's faces to the double-page spreads showing superheroes fighting creatures to the creepy experiments in the World. The pages seem to glow with an otherworldly light, as Reis, who does both the lines and colors here, works with a palette that is utterly his own. Nothing else in comics looks like this, and Reis stands alone in what he can bring to a book. Maher's lettering uses the classy lowercase style that is currently running across all of the Hickman-led X-books, creating a nice consistency.

Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1 is a one-shot comic that is as good as they come, that any fan of speculative fiction can enjoy.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.