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I remember seeing pictures of X in issues of Wizard Magazine back in the 90s. However, it would not be until today that I read my first X story, The Pigs, written by Duane Swierczynski and drawn by Eric Nguyen with colors by Michelle Madsen. X #0 actually collects three stories that were serialized in Dark Horse Presents #19 through #21 and we figured it to be an excellent place to start. So what did we think of Dark Horse’s one-eyed homicidal version of Zorro? SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!

Dark Horse’s blurb for the issue, reads:

Three crime lords in the decaying city of Arcadia have received photographic death sentences from the mysterious “X Killer.” Their cunning defenses won’t stop Arcadia’s vigilante from making sure each one of them suffers.

And man, does the X Killer make them suffer – be it with swords, guns, or nail bombs hidden underneath cars. The body count for this issue would put some Punisher issues to shame. So would some of the more gruesome elements of the story such as criminals being ground up into sausage and served on top of spaghetti.

Swierczynski’s story moves at a nice even pace and is devoid of senseless narration. If you’ve read my previous reviews, you know that I hate caption heavy stories. This issue uses captions for voice over only though and the dialog is used to move the story forward. Nice work Duane. But, effectively, this is just a Punisher story with X in place of Frank. Nice if you’re looking for action and more action, but not if you’re looking for in-depth storytelling.

Cover for X #1. We’re Going To Get An Issue.

The cover by Raymond Swanland is beautiful, featuring amazing detail and use of contrast. The art on the inside is not nearly as

detailed, but what comic has art as detailed as the cover? Nguyen brings a rough style to the story that seems to fit it well. There are times though where it seems scribbles were left in the art. Madsen’s colors work well also and we have to wonder if any colorist out there has had to color more blood in one issue.

As stated, this really is just another Punisher story. But we didn’t say that it wasn’t a fun Punisher story. Given the amount of action, the creative ways X dispatches Arcadia’s criminal elements, and the fact that I have a feeling this was just a precursor to an all new take on the character, I give this issue 

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