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District X #3

Posted: Friday, July 23, 2004
By: Adam Volk



“Mr.M” Part Three of Six

Writer: David Hine
Artist: David Yardin

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot:
In the mutant inhabited urban sprawl known as District X, NYPD Officer Ismael Ortega and former X-men turned Federal Agent, Bishop, find themselves caught in the middle of a deadly mutant gang war.

Comments:
When you stop and consider the amount of wretched, steaming crap that Marvel produces each month, it’s amazing that comic books like District X are released at all. Here we have a new series that has depth, substance and innovative writing and art. Hmmmm…maybe the big shots at Marvel don’t have their heads buried all the way up their asses.

The fact of the matter is District X is a phenomenal new comic. Writer David Hine has single-handedly taken the all-too familiar concept of the mutant outcast and turned it straight on its head. The result is a gritty urban crime drama with believable characters, an intriguing story-line and a wonderfully detailed setting—a remarkable feat for any writer, yet Hine has done all this in a mere three issues.

District X #3 continues that tradition, proving itself as one of the most innovative new titles Marvel has released in months. The story picks up with the further exploits of Ismael Ortega, a young NYPD officer and family man assigned to work the mean streets of Mutant Town—a massive slum in lower Manhattan populated by the mutant outcasts of society. This issue finds Ortega and Bishop (now working for the Federal Government) trying to stop an all out war between two powerful mutant crime lords. Both sides are after a young mutant named Toad Boy (introduced in issue 2), whose bodily secretions are used to create a potent and deadly hallucinogenic street-drug. To further complicate matters, Ortega is knee-deep in an internal affairs investigation after he and his partner covered up a mutant homicide during a domestic disturbance gone wrong. In this issue, the reader is also given a larger sense of Ortega’s family life (and the strain of dealing with his wife’s own mutant powers), a situation that is juxtaposed nicely with the criminal investigation in District X itself. The enigmatic Mr. M, who made his first appearance in issue 1, is also further developed in issue 3, along with yet another plot twist and a jaw-dropping cliff-hanger ending.

Hine is clearly at the top of his game in his work on District X, and it’s refreshing to see a comic book writer who understands the subtle nuances of pacing and characterization instead of bashing the reader over the head with senseless dialogue and derivative action sequences. David Yardin’s innovative art style also continues to work brilliantly, and there is something about Yardin’s subtle, realistic imagery that really drives home the thematic overtones Hine is attempting to convey.

Ultimately, District X #3 is yet another entertaining and thoughtful chapter in one of the most original comics to hit the shelves in months, proving that just because a comic has an X in the title, doesn’t mean it has to suck.



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