With the kind of artistic talent Black Mask has been getting for their books, I am not surprised that Ayhan’s illustration work, for X’ed #2, was wildly robust. From a war in the desert, to falling through an old woman’s subconscious, to drowning in an ocean from a ‘grey-hole’, Ayhan was spot-on. His lines were crisp. His inks were concise. And his panels were well paced. I have nothing to say short of how beautiful he made this issue with the help of colorist Doug Garbark.
Doug did an outstanding job with the color, telling a large portion of the story on his own. Barring some accent compliments here and there, he tends to stick with monochromatic palettes. This is so rare these days, that when I see it done, and done right, I get excited to turn the pages.
In addition, Ayhan and Doug’s sniper scene definitely deserves a mention here too. The way both of the artists worked together to hide an enemy in plain sight just shows how synchronized they are. Kudos to writer Tony Patrick for getting a fantastic art team.
Speaking of Tony, that man can write some mean dialogue. At no point was he overly descriptive, or too ambiguous. And each character had the right amount of familiarity with each other, and their jobs; this is often the largest pitfall in dialogue. All of this together made for a smooth read, and easy transition into Tony’s magical world.
As far as his narrative, I think it is too early to judge. While I love the visual representation of an old woman’s mind, and all the characters/emotions that inhabit it, I can’t help but feel that there is something missing. So far the series seems to feel like an ‘and then this happened’ prose, with a series of events strung together, but no real progress being made. Not saying that this is bad, but if the story stays this way readers will start to feel complacent to the characters.
Either way, X’ed #2 was another incredible issue from Black Mask. The art team alone should be more than a good enough reason to pick this up. Between Tony’s dialogue, and the stunning pages by Ayhan and Doug, this series is looking like another smash hit. Get out there and buy it. 4 out of 5.
Written by: Tony Patrick
Art by: Ayhan Hayrula
Colored by: Doug Garbark
Lettered by: Jim Campbell
Cover by: Chris Visions
Publisher: Black Mask Studios