X’ED #1

Black Mask



x'edHoly crap.

Yeah. So. X’ED, huh?

By now, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when a Black Mask book knocks me flat on my butt. CLANDESTINO is a brutal, raw depiction of a South American revolution. WE CAN NEVER GO HOME hit me square in all the feels. And I’m waiting with baited breath for 4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK.

But this write-up is about X’ED. Right, right. Have you ever experienced something so bad, that the image is burned into your brain? Or has someone hurt you so bad, that you would do anything to forget it? No matter what the cost? Then that is when you give the Mezign Corporation a call. After your treatment with them, you’ll be able to sleep better at night. That image will no longer haunt you behind your eyelids. You will finally be able to forget whomever it was that did you wrong. But here’s the thing: they don’t feed you a diet of strange new pharmaceuticals. No hypnotherapy here, either. And certainly no electroshock. No, the therapy they specialize in, is named Colin McClure.

That’s “SUBLIMINAL HITMAN” Colin McClure.

He goes inside your consciousness. With weapons. To cut. To Burn. Or even shoot your personal demons into oblivion.

Ah. Now you’re starting to get why I’m so intrigued by this book. Creators Tony Patrick and Ayhan Hayrula are truly mad geniuses here. Using cutting edge technology, Colin McClure is inserted into the mental landscape of Evelyn Lemonson, a wealthy senior citizen who desperately wants to be rid of the memory of her younger brother, a perpetrator of financial crimes of the highest order. And just like that, Colin- and the reader- leave the world of hard science behind, and enter a realm of Dali inspired subjective madness.

Ayhan Hayrula clearly is having a blast on art duties. The mental monsters he creates to fill Evelyn’s mindscape are horrifying and plentiful. While Colin makes his way across the Old West landscape of Evelyn’s mindscape in search of the memories of her criminal brother, he finds himself under attack from all sorts of mental guardians. Aspects of Evelyn’s insecurities and doubts, various silent monsters intent of keeping Colin from his appointment mission. By setting these battles against a familiar Old Time backdrop just makes the monsters all the more unsettling. The faceless and malleable MIFS, or mindfugks, as Colin calls them, are truly an unbeatable guardian.

But this story also takes place in the physical world. While Colin is desperately trying to finish his mission, Mezign Corporation finds itself under attack by masked agents who are attempting to steal their super science. But instead of blowing the place full of holes with guns and bullets, these agents use voice active apps on their phones to scramble your brain. This book is chuck full of super-science and high-concept action in all the best ways.

As we start to get glimpses deeper into the backstory of not only Colin McClure but the rest of the team at Mezign Corporation, it’s clear Patrick and Hayrula have planned out this story to the final detail. The humanity that Colin is clearly trying to recapture is the perfect counter to the hard science of Mezign Corporation and the subjective madness of his mental adventures. With a concept that is inspired by the best elements of the Matrix and the Doom Patrol, X’ED hits the ground running as a fully formed, unique creation and is the perfect addition to your monthly comic book haul.


Dan Malmon