Knights of X TPB review – AIPT











A pretty looking book with a story that could have been something grand, but ended up a rushed title leaving only promise.
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The Regin of X era found many X-books relaunching with new creative teams and directions, with some of the titles, like Legion of X and Marauders, being slight tweaks on books in the existing line. Knights of X feels like the series that most directly continues the storyline established by its writer Tini Howard, as it builds on the same characters and plot from her Excalibur title. Unfortunately, this title, now cancelled and framed as a miniseries, was big in narrative scope but cut short, resulting in many questions about Marvel’s current publishing strategy for monthly titles. 
Excalibur, focusing on the magical elements of the Marvel universe, was not my cup of tea, but it was easy to respect how committed Howard was to developing this corner of the X-line. She clearly loved the chosen cast of characters (Braddock, Rogue, Jubilee, and Gambit), and the run played a major role in some of the crossovers impacting other X-titles.  Some of the same figures return in the Knights of X title, with a greater focus on Otherworld, a real strength of this title, as Howard pulls out all the stops in committing to the world-building. 
Plot wise, the title has Braddock, now leading the Captain Britain Corp, working with Roma to push back the tide of Merlyn’s role on Otherworld. The book reveals that there is a mutant population in this realm for Braddock to protect, giving a through-line to the Krakoan titles happening elsewhere. Eventually, Absolon Mercator is confirmed to be an omega-level mutant, and his realm is opening, pushing the book’s heroes to a confrontation with the powerhouse.
If I picked up this Knights of X trade and absorbed it as-is, it would feel like a rushed and convoluted narrative with too many plot pieces that are wrapped up off-page and in a rush. Knowing that this was meant to be a monthly series, you can see where Howard was establishing larger threads to explore in later issues, only to learn that this storyline needed to wrap up prematurely with issue #5. Much like Leah Williams’ X-Factor run, which was also forced to wrap up hastily, the result is a story that feels slapdash with shifting stakes. Gambit dies and gets resurrected, clashing with the current norms in the titles for expediency’s sake, and everything gets wrapped up in a beautifully-drawn gathering of mutants to save the day. This reads like a story that was meant to conclude at the end of a third act, not the first. 

Knights of X
Marvel


Weirdly enough, Howard has been tasked with a forthcoming Captain Britain title that appears to be a direct continuation of this storyline. Why would Marvel cut Knights of X short, and then quickly relaunch with another title? Understandably, the editorial team has faith in Howard and her work with these characters, or we wouldn’t see so many different incarnations of this story. Perhaps they are looking for the right title that will finally sell the numbers they are expecting. But to have a creator begin work on what was clearly meant to be a longer arc, rushing it to completion to then relaunch with a new moniker, leaves the reader feeling like the line is lost at sea. Knowing Howard’s talent, I imagine these five issues would have read far different if this was always planned as a miniseries from the start. Hopefully Marvel will avoid this jarring course-correction in the next incarnation title. Either give your creators the space and time needed to tell a story or give them the confines of a miniseries from the get-go. 
Bob Quinn’s art is wonderful throughout this run. It’s beautiful and expressive, with flashy showmanship when it’s called for. He captures Howard’s lyrical vision well, and I hope to see them collaborate in the future. 
Knights of X is a pretty looking book with a story that could have been something grand, but ended up a rushed title leaving only promise. One hopes that Howard’s next foray into Otherworld is given the space to breathe and develop in a way this run was not.   

Knights of X
‘Knights of X’ TPB review
[title of book goes here]
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Beautiful art from Bob Quinn.
Some interesting narrative elements in Howard’s script that will hopefully find a home in another title.
Clearly, this book was rushed to conclusion, having started as a monthly title and then turned into a mini.
5

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