Visit Radiant City, designed using the principles of psychetecture to soothe its inhabitants. But something went horribly wrong, and the city instead causes anxiety, insomnia, and madness! As ordinary citizens begin giving in to dementia and a serial killer walks the streets, a desperate City Hall commissions a drastic program of urban demolition, resulting in the deaths of an entire sect of architects. Returning from exile with a mission to recover Radiant City's original blueprints, only one man has a chance of restoring its sanity - the enigmatic Mister X!
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This reboot of Motter's groundbreaking retro-future cult favorite from the '80s for the 2000s comes up with an odd mixed bag. When Radiant City's mood-soothing psychetecture starts eliciting assorted mental and emotional disorders in its inhabitants, the local government decides to raze the metropolis and build anew, a plan carried out by giant robots that kill a respected sect of architects. But the reconstruction can only spell a horrible outcome, so the city's mysterious designer, Mister X, returns after having disappeared years earlier and endeavors to retrieve his original blueprints while eluding the corrupt government, vicious gangsters and the police, who think he may be the serial killer who's leaving a trail of bodies. The narrative moves at a measured pace and at times reads like a dream of a place and era that simultaneously never was and is yet to be, the art a cold yet alluring fusion of the film noir aesthetic and a push-button future as imagined by the likes of film directors Fritz Lang or William Cameron Menzies. Motter certainly delivers in terms of mood and visuals, but the end result comes up curiously uninvolving. (Nov.)
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In 1984, Motter set the independent comics world abuzz when he introduced a new kind of antihero: an insomniac, bespectacled architect named Mister X. After producing an entire series featuring the enigmatic Radiant City resident, Motter moved on to other things, notably Batman: Nine Lives (2003). Now he’s back with a new Mister X tale involving the corruption of Radiant City’s most trusted leaders. When the mayor launches a project to remove the “psychetecturally” designed buildings responsible for an epidemic of madness, a sanctum of architects is destroyed in the process. While investigating this story, ace reporter Rosey Stone quickly becomes entangled in two more, including one involving a serial killer and another implicating the city’s mayor in a scandal. At her side, with his knack for navigating Radiant City’s hidden passageways, Mister X keeps Rosey both well informed and safe, while trying to preserve the city he helped design. Although the illustrations here appear less innovative than those in the first series, the edgy retro futurism and delicious film-noir atmosphere remain intact. --Carl Hays
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