Writer: Tini Howard
Art: Bob Quinn and Erick Arciniega
Letters: VC’s Ariana Maher
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 27th, 2022
In Knights of X #1, as Merlyn and King Arthur’s knights hunt down and kill witch breeds (AKA mutants) on Otherworld, Captain Britain (Betsy Braddock) desperately tries to save lives while forming a strategy to retake the Starlight Citadel (now called the Lunatic Citadel), which is a gateway to the multiverse and also controlled by the malevolent Merlyn and his murderous cadre of villains.
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Having not read an X book in a while, reading Knights of X #1 was akin to walking into a graduate-level calculus course when you’ve only completed Algebra 101.
It’s all good, though, because Knights of X #1 is so well written, most of the terms that come flying at you fast (Otherworld, Saturnyne, the Lunatic Citadel, etc.) can be defined by how they’re referenced in the story, and a quick lookup on the internet filled in the remaining blanks.
I love the dark fantasy of Otherworld and the war with Merlyn, it’s a great counterpoint to the usual sci-fi heavy elements of the X-Men. Reading this issue, I was reminded of films like “The Dark Crystal” or even “Excalibur”, where the worlds aren’t squeaky clean and bright, but instead filled with menace and an atmosphere of doom. Otherworld itself is portrayed as perpetually in darkness, as if no Sun ever rises on this world.
Betsy Braddock makes a great Captain Britain, very much like Steve Rogers’ Captain America, in that she’s fierce in combat, loyal, and always wanting to fight for the little guy. In one scene of this issue, she gets into an argument with Saturnyne, the spoiled ex-ruler of Otherworld, when Saturnyne insists Betsy work full-time on getting her throne back, and stop the “foolishness” of saving the witchbreeds. The two have an interesting dynamic, as Betsy serves as her bodyguard and champion, even though Betsy loathes her.
Betsy gathers a band of fellow mutants to help with a quest that will hopefully end Merlyn’s reign, and I assume that will be the main story arc for the book, at least for the first few issues. Her team is a good one, though a couple of the characters (like Gambit) have been overused in other books. Some of her team members fit the book as perfectly as a tailored suit, though, and their different personalities and conflicts will be fun to read in future issues.
Pardon me if I sound sour, but would it kill Marvel to use Dazzler in one of these many X books? She’s always been my favorite mutant character, but Marvel continues to overlook her. In all fairness, though, she wouldn’t have been a good fit for this book, but I just thought I’d vent a bit. The issue ends with a great reveal, a return of something from X-Men history, and something, ironically enough, that ties in with Dazzler’s past as well.
Bob Quinn’s art on Knights of X #1 is loaded with dramatic poses and great character work. The characters all have very expressive features, that add another layer to the dialogue. There are several full-page spreads or half-page panels that lend a Kirby-style grandeur to the book, fitting for a tale that takes place in a dark fantasy world at the nexus of the multiverse. Otherworld itself is drawn with a brooding atmosphere, almost like a world out of a horror novel. Beautiful work.
Knights of X #1 is a great beginning to an epic quest and continues Betsy Braddock’s saga in a grand heroic fashion. Otherworld makes a great backdrop to the story, and the other mutants in her team will be fun to follow as the story progresses.