NYX #1 (November 2003)
by Joe Quesada & Joshua Middleton

My boundless curiosity of the inner workings of troubled teenage girls – or perhaps my barely-latent pedophilia – caused me to pick up NYX #1, on the strength of a simply astounding cover depicting a pacifier-lickin' raver girl. I can't touch 'em in real life, but I can read about 'em in the funnybooks!

Also, though, the simple signification of rave culture on the cover of a Marvel comic book indicated this might be something interesting. Sure, the pacifier thing may be a bit dated, but who knows … a number of court orders bar me from dropping in on that scene anymore. Well, no one ever told me you couldn't bring your 2-year-old to a rave … several times.

The art of NYX is exhilarating. It's got that odd, exaggerated movement and rubbery elongation of figures that characterizes a lot of comics aimed at teens of the 00s, and which mostly I just can't access. But it's really sharp here, simultaneously hyper-realistic and completely fantastical.

The story concerns Kiden, Kid for short, a 16-year-old girl with a foul mouth and a real rebellious streak, which we can trace back to her having witnessed her father's murder in a drive-by while still a child. She drops ectsasy, steals smokes, and starts fights. Whether she has promiscuous sex, I don't know, but there are certainly enough leering panty shots in the comic to draw a conclusion of "Hell, yeah, boys!"

As a side note, I quite enjoyed the cigarette stealin' and smokin' … mere pages after yet another "Tobacco is Whacko … If You're a Teen!" ad. Way to bite the hand that feeds.

But clearly NYX is not out to make friends. The writing is audacious and risky, but moreover, honest. The rave sequence is surprisingly non-cheesy, the drug use is realistic, and the rebelliousness is grounded in genuine emotion. So instead of coming off as exploitational, it really seems like the creators are simply going for a true-to-life setup to draw the reader in.

It works. I was consistently engaged, and curious to find out where it all was going. Despite an quick reference to Dr. Xavier (the X-Men ringleader whose writings are assigned by Kid's teacher along with Dr. Martin Luther King's!), I was totally blindsided by the end of the issue, wherein Kid's mutant superpowers suddenly emerge.

So now I find myself in a real quandary … I've been taken by the hand and led by a beautiful raver girl down a colorful hallway with delirious, pulsating sound … into the X-Men universe.

It's a bottomless pit, I know. I feel like I've been invited over to an acquaintance's house to "listen to records," only to find that what actually awaits is a Bible study.

I may have to give this series up immediately and go rent Thirteen to fulfill the same basic craving. Yet, if I'm going to get into mutant superheroes, they might as well be ones who wear alarmingly skimpy clothing and taunt me for being twice their age.

Review by Why You Frontin'?