Puck in X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain #1

X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain #1
Feb 2010 (DEC on cover)

The team of Fred van Lente and Dennis Calero returns to the X-Men Noir title, kicking off a four-issue miniseries with the same characters already introduced in the X-Men Noir series earlier this year. Noir Puck appears on the cover and inside as an adventurer/thief.

Wolverine, Cyclops, (Golden Age) Angel and Puck, survivors of the last series, find themselves in Madripoor in the late 30’s. They steal the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak for Cain Marko, a friend of Angel, but are double-crossed, as expected. The actual theft is done by Puck, who unrealistically sneaks into the temple inside a saddlebag on a wandering ox. I seriously doubt even Puck could fit into such a bag, and the panel where he pops out is laughable.

Upon hearing the news of foul play, Puck begins to really lose it, fearful that he’ll be the next victim. You’d think that such a seasoned adventurer with so many connections with the mystic arts of the Far East would have a bit more resolve when it comes to a run-of-the-mill curse of death.

Unfortunately, he’s portrayed as a cowardly sniveler who Wolverine scolds, “For God’s sake, Eugene. Grow a pair.” Noir characters tend to beat up on themselves, and each other, more than their heroic counterparts would, so this strange behavior isn’t so disappointing.

Dennis Calero’s art, though widely appreciated, is hit-or-miss in this issue. Most panels are so dark that the only “art” you actually see is some vague shadows off the edge of someone’s face against a pitch black background. In addition to the grossly disproportionate saddlebag scene, he also gets a “misshapen head” award for one particularly poor image of Puck’s cranium which will haunt you forever.

Note: this issue has a variant cover, also by Dennis Calero.

X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain #1 – Dennis Calero variant
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