It’s just business.
VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Alberto Foche (artist), Sunny Gho (colourist), Tini Howard (writer), Tom Muller (designer)
May 12, 2021
X-Corporation was first introduced in New X-Men in 2002 as a business support structure for civilian mutants around the world, run by various former X-Men. Following the decimation of mutantkind, there didn’t seem to be much use for such a corporation, and, with the lives of remaining mutants under significant threat, the X-Corp offices were evacuated and shut down. X-Corp has since been reinvigorated with the production of Krakoan pharmaceuticals, but thus far, the world has known little of their purpose. We know that the Hellfire Corporation manages the distribution of products, but what of X-Corp itself?
According to the vibrant promotional video that opens X-Corp #1, whatever X-Corporation is now, it offers the world “possibility.” Pristine images of mutants hard at work in shaping a better tomorrow are reminiscent of futuristic science fiction utopias. The panels offer glimpses of what Krakoa is up to, from pharmaceuticals to manufacturing to fashion. It’s the kind of squeaky clean corporation commercial that doesn’t actually say anything, despite the calming music, soothing lights, and reassuring voices that guide you through its promises. The video culminates with the introduction of the corporation’s CXO’s Warren Worthington III and Monet St. Croix and the latter’s unscripted words, “We’re simply superior.”
The pair is suited to their new role, sharing many similarities in their upbringing. Both are from money and are familiar with the corporate world. But their approaches to this rollout of the corporation aren’t yet in sync. We can’t expect everyone to dominate a boardroom like Emma Frost when it comes to striking a business deal, but this issue seems to imply that finding common ground between them is going to be a struggle.
Monet’s superiority complex is part of her charm, and it’s in full force here as she moves through each panel like a bull who is still fully aware of the delicate china around her, even if she’s not overly concerned about who might be upset if she does happen to break it. And that’s before she lets Penance out — or, Penance forces her way out when Monet gets frustrated by the events of the issue.
Artist Alberto Foche shines in these moments where he shows Monet wrestling with her other self, comfortably pulling Penance back, or letting the monster and her razor claws cut loose. But it isn’t really Penance who is trouncing all over everything. Monet has no patience for, well, anything, including discussing things like selecting a board of directors with her partner. Her disrespect is played off as “oh that’s just Monet” and Warren has to accept it, especially when her methods prove to be advantageous in the end. But this is meant to be a partnership between them and hopefully we will get to see more of that come through, rather than having to watch Warren seemingly play catch up.
Not that Warren is incompetent. His approach is simply softer, focused, and more disciplined, but he is no less capable of playing hardball. Where Monet will go low, Warren will go high, which others in the ruthless corporate world take to be weakness, leaving lots of opportunities for Warren to take advantage of their assumptions.
The team is rounded out in this issue with Trinary and Jamie Maddox, whom Monet recruits. Jamie in particular is another point where Monet’s barrelling over everyone who doesn’t agree with her may come to blows thanks to her disregard of his dupes.
Though the issue begins with talking heads and business jargon, it moves surprisingly quickly, complete with horse racing analogies and culminating with a rollout that will be talked about for quite some time. Which is exactly what a corporation needs in a world that is fuelled by social media, rumours, and digital currency and trading.
X-Corp #1 offers possibility. There is still much to discover about what those possibilities are, but for now, you should definitely be purchasing shares in this company.