Story & Word: Jonathan Hickman
Story & Art: Rod Reis
Letters: VC’s Ariana Maher
Design: Tom Muller
One of the greatest comic gifts bestowed on the medium by Grant Morrison, and there are many, is the character Fantomex. A product of the Weapon Plus program Fantomex was produced in the World, an environment created to produce Super-Sentinels to combat the growing mutant population. Fantomex is one of these super sentinels with an external nervous system located in his ship EVA, and the ability to construct illusions of misdirection which in turn makes him a perfect assassin with a god complex (that’s part of his power set as well). With enhanced reflexes, a healing factor, and a cybernetic mind Fantomex first appeared in Morrison’s New X-Men and became an ally of sorts to Wolverine as the long time X-Man looked deeper into his own origins. Since then Fantomex has been a regular member of the X-Universe most notably in Rick Remender’s fantastic Uncanny X-Force. Yet since the X-Men Krakoian reboot Fantomex hasn’t been front and center, that is until now, until Giant Size X-Men: Fantomex.
I’ve been a fan of the most recent Giant Size X-Men specials. Obviously, the original Giant Size X-Men is the seminal piece of comic fiction that began the entire X-Men universe as we know it today. So, to create new Giant Size X-Men comics one must shoot to achieve that quality and stature of that original book. Now these latest iterations of the Giant Size concept will probably not have as lasting of a cultural impact but they sure have been fantastic reads with some of the best artwork on the shelves today and Giant Size X-Men: Fantomex may be the best of the bunch, at least in the running with Giant Size X-Men: Jean Grey & Emma Frost.
Set around the World, a secret biosphere where time is accelerated or frozen depending on the whims of the scientists in charge all in the hopes of producing super sentinels. We open with the early days of the World when scientists with Advanced Ideas were first beginning to produce their bioengineered Super- Sentinels and we get a peak into the beginning of Fantomex and his connection to the World and his desire to return periodically to check in. So Fantomex takes it upon himself to infiltrate the World every ten years. Each time he comes face to face with an evolving Ultimaton, one of the main antagonists when Fantomex was originally introduced. The fun part of Giant Size X-Men: Fantomex is who Fantomex uses as bait to enter the World. From Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos to the Hellfire Club, a few unknowns and then as time catches up to the New X-Men scene where we first meet Fantomex. With each invasion we learn more of the World and the utter crazy creations going on within. Eventually the story does connect with the previous Giant Size X-Men stories with the underlining storyline of Storm, her sickness, and is it possible a cure does exist and what role does the World play in that?
Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men reboot has been an absolute delight and these Giant Size specials have been excellent. Giant Size X-Men: Fantomex was especially special as I love the Fantomex character and only a few people have written him as intended, completely arrogant and full of snark, and Hickman is one of those writers. Hickman understands Fantomex and has a fun time writing this story, especially with the nostalgic nods to Marvel’s past. Rod Reis’s artwork was stunning. His work has always reminded me of the perfect combination of Phil Noto and Bill Sienkiewicz and he blew me away with his work on this issue. His Fantomex evolved over the book and his depictions of the interior of the World were bonkers. These two together are a magnificent team and one I hope to see again.
Verdict: Giant Size X-Men: Fantomex was another outstanding Giant Size special with an incredible story and amazing artwork. Anyone on board with the current status quo of the X-Men or just a fan of great comics should Buy this comic.