REVIEW: X-Corp #2 – Now Hiring

X-Corp #2 cover by David Aja (Marvel Comics, 2021)

Monet St. Croix put X-Corp on the map by significantly moving up the company’s launch date, revealing its exclusive high-tech HQ to the world in the most dramatic way possible. Her unorthodox actions have frustrated Xavier, and Warren Worthington III continues to question the equality and respect that ought to come with a partnership. Still, neither can deny that Monet’s show succeeded in overshadowing the corporate attack that destroyed their lab and temporarily set back pharmaceutical productions. Because when it comes to business, image is everything.

X-Corp #2

David Aja (cover artist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Alberto Foche (artist), Sunny Gho (colourist), Tini Howard (writer), Tom Muller (designer)
Marvel Comics
June 16, 2021

 

X-Corp #2 cover by David Aja (Marvel Comics, 2021)

X-Corp #2 opens with our intrepid power business couple preparing for the Hellfire Gala. As is her way, Monet barges into Warren’s mind, mid-shower, and he rewards her with some antics as they discuss their plans for the evening. The Hellfire Gala isn’t just about looking pretty and having fun: X-Corp needs two more board members to round out the corporation’s mutant resource assets. Both Jamie Madrox and Trinary were asked to think about the position, but it seems Warren and Monet have now moved beyond them, caring only for their usefulness in terms of making sure things run smoothly on the ground level. Warren at least understands that valuing his staff is an important part of doing business, but Monet can’t even bother to remember anyone’s names.

Speaking of names, when Trinary appeared in the first issue of X-Corp, I allowed Marvel the benefit of the doubt. I, like many others, had met the character in X-Men: Red, and was interested in her, but noticed that, beyond being referenced as Indian and having brown skin, her purpose in the book was more about her abilities than who she actually is, with her ‘Indianness’ tossed in for diversity points. She’s brought into X-Corp for much the same reasons, mentioning a trip to and family in India, but still not even getting the courtesy of an actual name. Here we are in the second issue, and nothing has changed, with Trinary’s presence largely being boiled down to her abilities. As seems to be the case with many elements of Krakoa, she has apparently become cemented in her role because of these abilities, now being the only one who can communicate with X-Corp HQ’s proprietary systems, as she explains to an attacker trying to glean company secrets.

As Ritesh Babu points out at CXF, this is not what representation means, Marvel. Writer Tini Howard recently indicated on a podcast that, as a white person, she didn’t feel comfortable simply giving an Indian character a name without providing a backstory. Really? The excuse falls into the category of playing it safe with seeming political correctness, but your tokenism is showing. X-Corp is looking reasonably good on paper with its diversity and inclusion portfolio, but how this all plays out is left to be seen.

Because we still have to deal with the issue of Monet St. Croix. She appears on the Hellfire Gala cover of this issue — a cover that we have already expressed concerns in our Cover Girl series because of how it perpetuates the confusion and inconsistency surrounding the character’s Algerian roots. With Trinary and Monet in the same book, the art then becomes a concern because here we have two brown-skinned women with long, straight black hair, and the fear of what that means to have them together on a page, especially when one of them has so little to define her as a real character. The two are kept conveniently apart in this issue, but in the first, the similarities in their character designs were more glaring when they were paired up in panels.

Back to the business of business, Warren and Monet have a series of interviews scheduled for the evening in hopes of filling those two remaining CXO slots. Mutants with money but little business substance to offer are on the table, as is a human whose business acumen and pharmaceutical knowledge and more make her either a worthy asset or a significant danger. And finally, there’s Jason Wyngarde, whose resume becomes the show don’t tell of the rest of the issue, playing a particularly pivotal role when Fenris crashes the interview schedule.

I haven’t seen Jason since the Phoenix gave him a taste of godhood, and it seems he hasn’t been up to much since his death, though the ramifications of his illusionary abilities have affected quite a few mutants. He’s cleaned up quite a bit from the sleazy villain I once knew. Alberto Foche seems to have as much fun drawing him as he does the elaborate imagery of the Gala as Jason chews up the scenery.

As far as business plans go, we’re still not entirely clear on what the new X-Corp has to offer, but the pieces of its board are falling into place. With one more seat to fill, it will be interesting to see whose power and personality will fit.

Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

Publisher, mother, geek, executive assistant sith, gamer, writer, lazy succubus, blogger, bibliophile. Not necessarily in that order.

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