Max Gomez is biding his time in prison after being wrongfully incarcerated. Unfortunately, the only way to get his freedom is to sign up for a government experiment. Find out more in Phenom X by Image Comics!
PHENOM X #1
Writer: John Leguizamo, Aram Rappaport, Joe Miciak, and Damian Slattery
Artist: Chris Batista and Sabrina Cintron
Colorist: Christopher Sotomayor
Letterer: AndWorld Design
Editor: Eric Stephenson
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $6.99
Release Date: November 10th, 2021
Previously in Phenom X: Check out the new series by Image Comics. Phenom X follows Max Gomez who get cool shape-shifting abilities after partaking in an underground government experiment.
YOUR ONLY OPTION
Phenom X #1 starts with a brief moment of Max Gomez using his powers to fight the Bald Giant in Queens, New York. Before the fight could be resolved, we cut back to Max’s origin story. A year ago, Max was in jail for stealing and resisting arrest, which he claims is false. During his latest hearing, his appeal for freedom is denied. All Max wants to do is to go home to his son, but the system is working against him. He is then approached by Special Agent Potter to join an experiment and serve his government. After a few interactions, it becomes clear he doesn’t have a choice.
The government has been trying to give superpowers to a group of people but most of them become mentally unstable. However, there is a group of people who can resist the side effects because they have been exposed to radiation in a certain area. Max has a ton of radiation immunity in his system which makes him a prime candidate. After testing and experimenting, he realizes that he can shift into the material around him!
THE SYSTEM KEEPS YOU DOWN
Phenom X #1 makes it painfully clear that Max is in this situation because he is Latinx and that he is racially profiled constantly throughout the story. Max is a character who is just trying to keep his head above water and the government and legal system is punishing him for it. However, Max supports law enforcement and the government in this comic even if he is a little snide and sarcastic about it. But why support something that is forcing you to become superhuman? This makes the theme a little confusing. Are we supporting Agent Potter or is she part of the problem? Both? I’m really not quite sure how the creative team wants me to view this scenario.
With that being said, I really enjoyed Max’s character design. The little snippet we see of his costume and aesthetic looks really solid. Great design choices here in this double-sized issue.
BOTTOM LINE: NEEDS TO FIND ITS FOOTING
Phenom X #1 has a large creative team, and it sometimes lacks focus. But the premise of the story is solid and has a lot of potential. I’m looking forward to the next issue to see if that can solidify the pacing and tone that they want. 3.5 out of 5 stars for Phenom X #1!
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Phenom X #1
Phenom X #1 has a lot of great ideas but doesn't seem to focus on a theme early on in the story.