Tini Howard and Alberto Foche’s X-Corp #5 brings the saga of corporate politics and mutant-human relations to its thrilling conclusion.
Life has changed drastically for Marvel’s X-Men since the founding of Krakoa. Now that they aren’t forced into hiding, Earth’s mutant community is playing a bigger role in global politics and economics. Between hosting the Hellfire Gala and launching multi-national businesses, Krakoans have had a busy year. Writer Tini Howard and artist Alberto Foche have explored the mutants’ corporate endeavors throughout X-Corp. Its final issue is a satisfying conclusion that adds classic superhero action to a saga of corporate espionage and board meetings.
X-Corp #5 picks up immediately following J.P. Kol’s militant attack on X-Corp’s headquarters and the violent murder of James Madrox, the Multiple Man. Madrox’s innumerable duplicates begin to sense his death almost immediately. However, before they have time to react, some of Kol’s mercenaries take pills that give them super strength and the Von Strucker twins attempt to destroy the flying headquarters, killing everyone on board. Angel and Monet St. Clair attempt to subdue the twins and a chaotic battle ensues.
Throughout the X-Corp series, Howard has explored the numerous cultural, political, and economic tensions between Krakoa’s X-Corp and J.P Kol’s company Noblesse Pharmaceuticals. Kol’s resentment towards mutants has fanned the flames of a bitter business rivalry. Monet and Angel see the success of their company is closely tied with the success of their nation. All of these tensions come to a violent head in X-Corp #5. Howard set up an intense confrontation and she definitely delivers on its action. Things move so quickly that the reader can’t catch their breath until the last few pages. This pace manufactures a sense of relief at reaching the conclusion that allows the reader, along with the heroes, to let their guard down once the fighting is finally over.
Alberto Foche’s artwork has made the entire series a joy to read and it is exciting to see him take these characters out of the boardroom and into the battlefield for the final issue. His action conveys the sense of nerve-wracking chaos that Howard has set the stage for without sacrificing any clarity. Foche bounces back and forth between various fights to give the audience a holistic understanding of the severity of the battle. Sunny Gho’s colors drench much of the action in the orange glow of gunfire and explosions. This color palette serves as a constant reminder of the perilous landscape the characters inhabit and brilliantly contrasts the much calmer collection of colors present in the rest of the series.
The first four issues of X-Corp feel more like chapters in a thriller about the cutthroat world of business than an X-Men comic. This refreshing approach to the Marvel Universe has been remarkably intriguing, and Howard and Foche maintain these distinct sensibilities in the final issue. But, they also center the ending around a giant super-powered action sequence that serves to remind the audience that no matter how integrated the Mutants become in “polite society,” they can still kick butt when they need to, while also drawing a frightening parallel to the world of corporate business and militant acts of aggression. The entire creative team shines to make X-Corp #5 a great ending for the series.
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