Dean Motter’s Mister X: Hard Candy is a unique one shot. The blend of neo noir sensibilities with drug culture culminates to create an original take on a familiar story.
WRITTEN BY: Dean Motter
ART BY: Dean Motter
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
RELEASE: March 27th, 2013
Mister X is a mysterious man who never seems to sleep. He claims to be an architect of Radiant City. Radiant City is a dystopia wasteland that echoes Fritz Lang’s metropolis, but feels more like a neon lit neo noir from the seventies. Motter’s range of influences is vast and varied. He uses these influences to create an incomparable tribute to the things that inspired him.
Motter’s art is dark and fantastic. The world of Radiant City is shrouded in darkness, and seemingly lit by one neon sign. The style echoes that of Batman the Animated Series. The tone created by the art gives the feeling of a world lost in time. Elements from so many different artistic movements influence every page. With the art having a particular influence from German Expressionism.
The characters that inhabit the city are drab and mysterious. In typical noir fashion, their motivations are shrouded in just as much darkness as the city. Mister X himself is dynamically odd. He is apparently addicted to a drug he helped invent, and finds himself lost in a world he had a hand in creating. Yet, he navigates the city with relative ease.
Motter’s use of internal monologue allows Radiant City to come alive. Mister X knows the local haunts and characters that inhabit them. So through monologue we too come to learn a lot about the city rather quickly.
The story itself is a typical noir mystery. Missing person and our protagonist is the only one with enough connections to track her down. What results is a tale of deception, mystery, and the status quo being reestablished. Don’t pick up this book for the story; it’s hardly the draw here.
The principal plot point surrounding all the drugs of Radiant City was what interested me the most. Yet, most drugs are only mentioned in passing. This is a world where recreational drug use isn’t just the norm, but considered a necessity to get through the day. With that in mind the story moves from being run of the mill to something dynamically different. Although you will find yourself wanting to know more about the drug culture that has created Radiant City, Hard Candy will at least give you a bump to tide you over.
This was a world that I was previously uninitiated too, but the history of Mister X seems to reach pretty far back. The world Motter has created is deep and filled with intrigue. I can’t wait to see more of it.
Reviewed by – Jumbus_Christ