X-Men: Colossus Bloodline # 1

Reviewer: Kevin S. Mahoney
Story Title: N/A

Written by: David Hine
Art by: Jorge Lucas
Colored by: Tom Chu
Lettered by: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Colossus is easily one of the most interesting of the second generation X-Men. Following his debut in 1975, readers got to know him as a man of plentiful contradictions. Built to fight, he strives for peace. Raised a farmer, he excels in the arts, especially painting. Though the most physically intimidating member of the X-Men to that point, literally a man of metal, he was the reflective and unassertive soul of the team. His communist beginnings, novel for the era he was created in, helped him bond with the other heroes in both the second and latter groups of X-Men.

Unfortunately, the nice guys of comics (Peter Parker, Kyle Rayner, Ralph Dibny, Warren Worthington III, etc.) frequently get the bleakest heaviest burdens placed upon them. His sister Illyana dies horribly in Uncanny X-Men #303. His brother Mikhail goes quietly insane from previous exposure/trauma in another dimension. Later, we find out he’s trying to resurrect their dead sister while being possessed by some sort of parasite. He didn’t manage it. Their parents die at some point. And there was that time that Piotr himself lost the faith and joined Magneto and the Acolytes for a while. It’s tough being the sole survivor of your immediate family without turning to evil. Well, Colossus returns to the X-Men eventually and sacrifices his own life to cure the Legacy Virus, the illness that stole his sister from him. He was dead for a while but resurfaced implausibly in Astonishing X-Men #5 at the bottom of a vault.

And now, in our actual issue, someone is killing off Piotr’s extended family and he himself is slowly coming to doubt his own sanity. Possibly, he too is possessed. Despite the drama and maudlin potential of this mini-series, it doesn’t feel like too much of a downer, more like the beginnings of a noir/occult thriller. Readers got some Russian slice of life pages as well as a catfight or two between Kitty Pride and Emma Frost. The last page reveal seems a bit melodramatic, but it doesn’t hurt the issue’s momentum any.

The art in this installment would be above board, perhaps even nifty if not for the artist’s or colorist’s predilection for digitally inserted background material. The process isn’t necessarily useless. There are times that it works in a story (see the digitally inserted text in a book folks call Astro City) and times where it can just seem lazy. The screen capture of Frankenstein on the otherwise normally illustrated television set was a great touch on page two. The utter profusion of non-drawn material on pages three and thirty-one is chaotic and an obvious case of too much of a good thing. It’s a shame that a single technique, repeated too often, takes the shine off of otherwise commendable line work, details, and anatomy.