Review: Fantomex MAX #1


Fantomex has always been one of my favorite characters since first being introduced to him in Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force run. Now he has his own “MAX” title, and it’s all that and a little bit more.

For starters, this has to be my favorite cover this week from Francesco Francavilla, which oozes with noir delight. I haven’t read many “max” issues from Marvel, but once I saw Fantomex was getting one I had to jump on board. Writer Andrew Hope kicks off this title with Fantomex stealing something of great value from Project Omega Zealot, and Hope does not let us forget that Fantomex is an internationally renowned super criminal. This story is focused, not just on Fantomex, but also special agent Rhona Flemyng and her pursuit of him. Simple enough, but of course, this is a comic, so it isn't that simple.

Agent Flemyng fails in spectacular fashion in her attempt to capture Fantomex, and now she is being added as a consultant to an extremely dangerous and violent trio of the U.S. Department of Justice. Hope really uses the “Max” label on this book for maximum effect without being crude or over-the-top. Fantomex has a very “friendly” relationship with Eve as for anyone with the slimmest knowledge of Fantomex might expect. She seems slightly more sexually aggressive than I anticipated, but it’s all done in good fun and characterization. The language is mild in my opinion but punctuates just the right moments. Hope also runs with his ability to show graphic violence and surprisingly not from Fantomex, but agent Flemyng’s new partners, Stirling, Macready and Guant, the last of which is the most violent of all.

Hope also has a little fun with both super-sexy spy Macready and a not so hidden agenda with agent Flemyng, and I’m not one to complain. Really, no complaining here. What’s most intriguing is the weapon that Fantomex has brought back with him on his heist as it’s as dangerous as it seems to be alive. It’s a mystery that I’m sure will have some legs. Artist Shawn Crystal does an outstanding job on this issue with the stylized panels that will focus on singular action and over exaggerated sense of motion. It’s a thing a beauty and raises the total cumulative value of this book by several degrees. It’s as much fun to read as it is to see, and this is a creative team that I hope sticks around for the duration.

Finally, Hope shows us in just one page some of the tragedy Fantomex suffered as a child through a dream sequence and all the dialogue is in French, which I found to be a brilliant move of Hope’s part. By the end, we get to see that Fantomex may have his issues but that his heart is in the right place. This first issue intrigues me, and I am expecting great things from what I’ve seen so far. Fantomex is an anti-hero and one well deserving of this non-censored Max title. For the easily offended, you may want to pass, but if you like a good story and great art you should definitely be picking up this Fantomex Max.