Writer Tini Howard (Excalibur, Catwoman) and artist Bob Quinn (Way Of X) are back with another chapter of Mutants in the land of Arthurian legend in Knights Of X #2. Featuring colors by Erick Arciniega and lettering from Ariana Maher, this issue sends our mutant knights into open combat against their foes for the sake of struggling mutants in Otherworld in a dazzling and immensely entertaining issue. With an exciting, sharp script and outstanding visuals, this is a comic for fans of readers who like a little medieval fantasy with their X-Men.
“THE QUEST REVEALED! Betsy Braddock has assembled her Knights of X! Their mission: to save Otherworld from Merlyn and his powerful henchmen…by finding the holy grail of mutantkind. But Otherworld is vast, and innumerable armies stand in their way. When Merlyn targets the Crooked Market, a safe haven for mutantkind, the Knights must split up. Will Captain Britain find the grail? Will Gambit lead the others into a deadly trap? Death looms over the Knights — in more ways than one.”
Writing & Plot
Tini Howard splits up her mutant knights into two plot threads for Knights Of X #2. One team is led by Gambit, investigating Merlyn’s offensive against the Crooked Market and aiding the struggling mutants hiding there. The other is led by Betsy Braddock – aka Captain Britain – to bust some allies out of a prison. This entire issue is a rollicking ride of mutant magic and intense action. Howard carefully weaves clever dialogue through titanic battle sequences to keep the story’s focus on character above all else. Outside of the big action moments are quiet, often sweet character moments of our heroes showing their true selves. Gambit is, unsurprisingly, a big old softie when it comes to kids. Mordred? Very polite, even when being overwhelmed by enemy forces. Rictor and Shatterstar? Adorable, you love to see it. Howard gives readers great character moments while building a story that matters and kicks ass. She also makes it abundantly clear that Braddock and her Knights are effectively on their own for this mission. They’re cut off from Krakoa and their loved ones/fellow mutants, making the stakes higher while also cementing Knights as very much its own story in a larger whole. The story here may not be the most consequential of X-books, but it’s still one more than worth a read.
This entire era of X-Men comics has been gifted with incredible visual work, and Knights Of X #2 is no exception. Bob Quinn draws these medieval-fantasy mutants with a stunning attention to detail and fantastic animations. His work here is noticeably heavier on inks than most other Krakoa-era X-comics. This detail actually helps set this comic’s world apart from that of the rest of the current X-books. This world of fantasy and “witchbreed magic” doesn’t have the bright utopian sheen of Krakoa. This touch is proven even more effective when it contrasts with the bright powers and costumes of the Knights themselves. Quinn’s shimmering displays of mutant energy and sleek takes of classic costumes are the booming centers of attention for the reader – and beacons of hope for the denizens of Otherworld. There is often quite a lot happening on these pages, so it’s fortunate too that Quinn’s page composition is generally very solid. Events are easy to follow and intelligently laid out depending on how he wants certain details and events to impact. There are a couple moments where it can be difficult to figure out who’s talking, with so many characters often occupying a single panel. Regardless, Quinn’s work here is immensely impressive.
The colors from Erick Arciniega are vivid and varied, bringing a high fidelity sheen to this comic that has come to be expected from the current run of X-books. Arciniega uses a perfect selection of darker hues to match the inks, and his choices really sell the atmosphere of this different breed of X-comic. The lettering by Ariana Maher is solid, as she utilizes the same font and style as the other X-comics of the Krakoa era. Her work here almost disappears into the reading experience, with cool SFX lettering and dynamic speech fonts. Overall, Knights is as gorgeous a book as one would come to expect from the Krakoa era.
Knights Of X #2 is a thoroughly entertaining and compelling comic. Tini Howard’s script is a perfect blend of sweet character moments, humor, and stellar action. The visuals from Bob Quinn and Erick Arciniega are beautifully animated and atmospheric, crafting a unique visual experience within the larger X-Men world. Be sure to grab this issue when it hits shelves on June 1st!