Image: Marvel Comics

X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever is a miniseries that has flown under the radar, despite doing some very interesting things. To start, it debuted as a weekly digital comic before being released in monthly print issues; while it’s unfortunate that the digital copies are the same price as print when they have a much lower production cost, it’s nice to see Marvel exploring some different distribution options. More importantly, the series exists in its own separate continuity far removed from the current state of the X-books, allowing writer Max Bemis, artist Michael Walsh, and colorist Ruth Redmond to offer their distinct take on the X-Men mythos and its sprawling cast of characters. With an emphasis on dark humor, the story of Bailey Hoskins (whose mutant power is to explode, and then die because he blew himself up) has been a very fun take on Marvel’s merry mutants, becoming increasingly bleak as Bailey finds himself in the middle of a villainous plot to kill Professor X.

While Bailey didn’t accomplish the task, Professor X is dead at the start of Worst X-Man Ever #5, sending the world into an apocalyptic future ruled by Professor X’s killer, Riches. These preview pages reveal Riches’ reign with a striking splash from Walsh and Redmond, an image full of drama and intensity that is a stark contrast to the somber scenes of an aging Bailey at home. Walsh and Redmond have done exceptional work reflecting Bailey’s emotional state in their artwork on this series, giving Bemis’ script greater impact by accentuating the tonal shifts in the narrative. It may be the end of days, but that hasn’t stopped X-Men from fighting in the past, and it might be just the scenario Bailey needs to escape the “Worst X-Man Ever” label and prove his greatness. Or not. The fact that the second option exists shows how this miniseries differs from other superhero stories, and readers looking for a fresh twist on the X-Men should seek out this overlooked title.

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