Dean Motter’s Mister X is back, courtesy of Dark Horse Comics, and for some of you that’s surely cause for rejoicing. Well, it is or me, too, actually; this is the first time that I’ve actually had the pleasure of reading the book.
This issue, “Xmas in Somnopolis, is the first in a four part arc, and takes place in Radiant City, an urban environment that despite its name is anything but a joy to live in for its people. Motter has said that the inspiration for the city came from Bauhaus’ and Lang’s Metropolis, a proto-science fiction film of the early 20th century. Even if he hadn’t made that known, it’s fairly evident in the design of the buildings and the vintage look of the automatons.
Built to be a utopia, a “city of dreams”, life in Radiant has become a nightmare because of some undisclosed psychic defect. It’s now up to Mister X, one of the city’s original designers, to figure just what went wrong with his meisterwerk. If that sounds familiar, it should; Mister X served as a major influence for Dark City.
The book was also acknowledged by Terry Gilliam as inspiration, at least aesthetically, for Brazil.
The art in the comic has a classic feel that will definitely bring to mind the Golden Age, but that simplicity in design belies a complex story that, beneath its science fiction exterior, is a great noir-ish thriller. There are also a number of literary devices used, particularly the names of the characters, that are interesting.
Fans of not only good science fiction, but great storytelling, well-rounded main characters and strong support characters would do well not to pass up Mister X. You never know when an opportunity to own a true classic, even a reissue, will present itself again.