This issue sees the classic Marvel villain Mephisto drastically redesigned.  Gone is the towering, loincloth-sporting demon lord.  Here he appears as a dorky, corporate-type businessman!  Not sure how purists are going to feel about this!  (Although, I’m sure the classic version will return in subsequent appearances.)

When the team was trapped in Hell, Mephisto made Amara (Magma) agree to go on a date with him in exchange for their freedom.  In this issue he collects, whisking her off (in a Ferrari) to Hell!  He arranges a lavish feast, overlooking an ocean of magma (get it?) complete with a serenade from some dead musicians.  Amara is already paranoid and wants to end the date before he tricks her with lies into damning herself and her teammates.

Back home, Warlock is revealed to be feeding a stray hell hound.  Dani attempts to contact Magik for advice.  X-Man walks around inexplicably shirtless the entire issue.

Back in Hell, Mephisto reasons with Amara, revealing that he in fact, truly just wanted a date to feel human for one night.  Amara tells him he’s bad at dating and takes him back to San Francisco to the restaurant she once applied to work at.  They actually end up having a great date!  Mephisto reveals an ironic truth, “I do a lot of global charity work, famine relief, disease control,” then he explains, “Millions of people die of disease and hunger… and they die young… that kind of short, horrible life gets them a direct pass upstairs.  I help them live longer, better lives.  Thus I increase the chances of them doing terrible things and therefore qualifying for hell.”  It’s a really clever idea! The date is awkward, but sweet.

This book is just so quirky and different!  It certainly differentiates itself from the standard X-Men titles with its “twentysomething buddies hanging out” vibe.  But it’s cool!  I enjoy it, although I know this interpretation of Mephisto will be undone soon.

David Lopez’s pencils are very strong!  He gives the characters unique faces and bodies and maintains them consistently.  It speaks volumes when a comic artist has to deliver a talky, action-free book entertainingly and he does just that here!

This book isn’t for everyone, but I for one enjoy it.  If you want something more action-packed, pass on this one.  But I appreciate good (even when it’s awkward) dialogue and interesting ideas.  Add to that, solid artwork and for me it’s…

Verdict: Buy

Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Pencils by David Lopez
Cover by Kris Anka