So far the Giant Size X-Men mini-series of one-shots has been a series of artist showcases, with plot-light stories that just step back and let the artist shine. That hasn’t totally worked for all of them, but Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex has the most potential to deliver.
In pairing Jonathan Hickman with his New Mutants collaborator Rod Reis, this issue recaptures the spirit of what’s probably been Dawn of X’s best story so far. It’s a high energy romp that’s equal parts Looney Tunes and X-Men. It’s brought to us by Hickman, Reis, Ariana Maher and Tom Muller.
Decades ago, Fantomex escaped the World, the Weapon Plus facility that created him. Once every ten years he returns to try to speak to his brother. But who is this previously unknown sibling and how do they factor into the grand story of Krakoa?
It’s no stretch to say this is the best issue of Giant-Size X-Men so far. Where the other series have mostly served to allow Hickman to set up one plot beat, and showcase an incredible artist, this does that while delivering an absolutely delightful story. It’s funny, it’s mind bending and it works, combining Hickman’s strengths with the mind-bending Grant Morrison concepts at the heart of the main character. Really the only place the story falls down is that it doesn’t really get deep into character motivations especially what and why Fantomex is taking these once a decade trips.
Clearly Reis brings out the best of Hickman and vice versa. Reis takes his distinct style and mixes in a bit of Bill Sienkiewicz and Chris Bachalo influences. It create a gleeful chaos on the page that escalates each time Fantomex recruits another batch of heroes for his traditional trip in. As great as it looks though, when the story hits the action sequences, it does feel a little stiff at moments, though it’s really just a panel here, and a panel there.
However, in the end, this is probably the most fun I’ve had with a one-shot story in a long time. It’s a great homage to not just X-Men history, but the entire Marvel universe. It’s not perfect, but it’s an absolutely fun read.
Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex is available now from Marvel Comics.