District X V1 Mr. M TP David Hine X-Cops Bishop from X-Men 1st print


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District X Vol. 1: Mr. M (X-Men) Paperback
by David Hine (Author), David Yardin (Artist)

Welcome to Mutant Town, the dark corner of New York City where the long arm of the law has been severed clean. Here, the mutant population doesn’t sport GQ style or champagne dreams. They eke out each day in squalid tenement rows and filthy streets where only one man and one law can be trusted: the X-Man Bishop.

Collects DISTRICT X #1-6
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Looks like Marvel Comics is trying to capitalize on some form of 1990s nostalgia by publishing titles featuring the likes of Cable, Deadpool and now Bishop. Yeah, nothing like attempting to return these third rate characters into the spotlight where alongside the majority of the properties created by the Image Comics founders, it symbolizes not only what was wrong with the X-Men franchise but comics in general during the last decade.

Marvel Comics is simply taking the ball from where DC fumbled it with Gotham Central which is nothing more than a redundant Batman spin-off series dashed with crime drama. Writer David Hine has hooked me with the idea of a police precinct that protects and serves a district that is inhabited by mutants. These are not the kind who are beautiful like Emma Frost or who have grand gifts in the style of Wolverine and Magneto. What we find residing in this ghetto are people who may appear human but could have a genetic DNA that is frog like or who may have tree roots growing out of them whenever they fall asleep. Hardly efficient even less practical for a regular lifestyle. However, these misfits must still obey and adhere to the laws that govern New York City. Enter the X-Men’s Bishop.

The mullet sporting Bishop has been retooled from a freedom fighter of the future to a Shaft like federal officer who has been assigned to aid the District X police precinct. David Hine has instantly given the character purpose and while he briefly appears in the first issue, the second instalment demonstrates that he can be interesting when the one dimensional, angst gun toting side of his persona is buried somewhere back in the 1990s. The appeal of the series thus far is not on Bishop himself but on police officer Ismael Ortega (a non mutant) and how he must deal with issues such as domestic disputes, drug dealers as well as a possible gang war involving oddly empowered citizens. Ortega’s own personal experience with the day-to-day hardships that mutants and their loved ones endure in our society is an aspect that Hine will hopefully explore further in subsequent issues.

While the partnership between Ortega, Bishop and the other law officers has all the ingredients of a good cop title, it is Hine’s ability to give the reader a human aspect to the people afflicted with an aberrant genetic mutation that makes the series a worthwhile read. You are not asked to feel sorry for the folks that are living in the neighbourhood but to understand why they are in a situation that they have not chosen to be in.

Like Hine, David Yardin is another creator in which this series is my introduction to his work. Very impressive. There is a realistic sensibility to his style that makes the setting and characters authentic. There is some great background in many panels and I enjoy the minute details such as how the clothes fall into place as well as how the creases logically follow the postion of the body. The anatomy and facial features are all distinct and well rendered. No ‘John Byrne’ rubber stamping here where Steve Rogers resembles Hank Pym or Sue Richards is Wanda Maximoff’s twin sister if you catch my drift.

Collects DISTRICT X 1-6. Near mint, 1st print.