Does X-Corp actually have a business plan?
David Aja (cover artist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Valentine de Landro (artist), Sunny Gho (colourist), Tini Howard (writer), Jason Loo (writer – “Multiple Sabotage”), Tom Muller (designer)
July 14, 2021
X-Corp #3 opens with a little backgrounder on Jamie Madrox, aka Multiple Man, featured on a uniquely designed page that mimics the character’s iconic costume. Normally, I’d express my frustration with Marvel’s penchant for swapping out artists so quickly into a new series, but Valentine de Landro comes out swinging that pencil with these opening pages. With pithy precision in these first few pages, and a closing bonus short story by Jason Loo, we gain insight into who Jamie is and what he brings to the X-Corp table. Basically, he and his dupes (whom Monet dismissively refers to as monkeys) run this show, though Monet and Warren are the face of it. But no one is perfect, no matter how many of him there are.
When X-Corp HQ shows up at the Technology TALKS conference, they are gearing up to launch the Ionospheric Bandwidth Generator (IBG), prepped with a press release to go with:
“It’s not just our headquarters. It’s your headquarters — for bandwidth and clear communications like you’ve never seen.”
Thus far, everything X-Corp has to offer earth has been an impressive show, but it’s also been three issues of flying by the seat of their pants, with Monet pulling off a last minute image save in the first issue, and Mastermind’s powers covering things up in the second. Unsurprising that the lack of actual preparation and the CXOs’ unorthodox business style finally bites them in the ass here with a plan that involves completely untested technology. Never a good sign when your lead scientist uses the words “…seems you’ll be able to…” when it comes to combining the powers of mutants capable of absorbing and unleashing massive amounts of solar energy in order to create better cell reception.
Meanwhile, Monet is meeting with Sara St. John, the human woman who has signed on with X-Corp’s competitor, Noblesse, and who is working with Fenris. Though Trinary (who remains without an actual name) and Sofia can’t find any dirt on her, there’s oooobviously something up with this woman, and Monet is going to find out.
But first, Monet’s got to play around in the internalized misogyny sandbox.
We know that the number of women in the corporate world is far lower than that of men. The times, they are a changin’, but in X-Corp #3, writer Tini Howard is not interested in showing that change. Instead, we get Monet disparaging Sofia and Trinary’s desire to attend a women in business seminar, which Warren has arranged for Monet to attend as well. Monet makes it clear that such events are worthless, and the networking that may occur there has nothing to do with the real business that men are playing at. The gender disparities still exist, but I’m not sure why Howard is writing a modern story that implies that women are still hustled off the the parlour to giggle and knit while the men talk real business over drinks. As if we don’t have any business women now who are commanding attention as role models at such conferences and beyond. As if such women attending business seminars and workshops doesn’t result in significant business ventures as well as mentorships and opportunities for up and coming business women.
X-Corp #3 doubles down on this imagery when Monet meets up with Sara. Sitting in wing-back chairs, they clink shot glasses. “I prefer to do business the old-fashioned way,” says Monet, to which Sara responds, “Like a man?”
The rest of the meeting proceeds with Monet hounding Sara for confessions and revelations about her Fenris connections. When she takes that hounding a predictable step too far, Sara shows her true colours, taking full advantage of the opportunity to see how well Penance handles business dealings. All while X-Corp’s big reveal sputters and fizzles on the main floor.
Guess we’re gonna need Mastermind to work his PR clean up magic again.