One of the more popular series of Dark Horse Comics' short-lived superhero universe Comics' Greatest World, which showcased different types of superheroes throughout its four environments. X represented the '90s Anti-Hero, who was determined to rid the city of Arcadia of the rampant crime and corruption that plagued it and was willing to kill anyone who stood in his way. A single diagonal slash across your face meant that you were warned and you'd better not break his rules again; if he completed the X, he killed you. No exceptions.
His first story was in Dark Horse Comics #8-10 back in 1992, which was later reprinted as X: One Shot to the Head. He started the Comics' Greatest World weekly 16-issue launch in 1993, where he featured prominently in all four Arcadia issues. February 1994 saw the first issue of his ongoing series, which lasted 25 issues, the last of which was published in April 1996.
Dark Horse rebooted the series in 2013, along with Ghost and a few other CGW heroes, as part of its Project Black Sky imprint. The reboot was reasonably successful, lasting 25 issues.
X provides examples of:
- Anyone Can Die: No matter if you're a thug, a corrupted cop or even the mayor, if you're marked by X, then beware.
- Author Appeal: Being part of Dark Horse in those years and having his own comic book, the famous '90s Anti-Hero creator Frank Miller put his distinctive seal to X making the covers of issue no.1 for Comics' Greatest World◊ and the One Shot to the Head◊ compilation, both having X as the protagonist.
- Black-and-Gray Morality: X's methods are questionable, to say the least, but the criminals and police officers he goes after are no less corrupt.
- Calling Card: X would send his targets a photo of themselves with a single diagonal red slash across their face as a warning to mend their ways. If they ignored the warning, they received a second diagonal slash, meaning death.
- Determinator: X is willing to do whatever it takes to clean up the streets of Arcadia.
- Exact Words: The first mark is a warning. The second mark is death. If the X is completed on your face or an image of your face, then X will kill you, even if he wasn't the one who put it there.
- Guard Stations Terminally Unattended: X does this a lot, contributing to his persona of a ghost-like, unstoppable character.
- Guns Akimbo: X frequently wields a pair of pistols, as does Ghost who sometimes crosses paths with him.
- Handicapped Badass: At the end of the fourth issue of Arcadia arc of CGW, X takes off the mask and it's revealed he wears an Eyepatch of Power, which is also the reason why in his costume only can be seen one eye, being the other one covered with the X.
- Healing Factor: Throughout the series, X is repeatedly shot, stabbed, burned, blown up, run over, etc., but he always heals from his injuries eventually. Later is revealed that he has a formula injected in his blood that give him this, and even more, if he's injured in certain way, the next time he's injured in the same way, the healing is faster than before.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: The complete X outfit was made in black leather with some red on it.
- Love-Hate Relationship: With Ghost. Not specifically a "relationship" but they can be enemies as well allies, depending of how their paths are crossed. Also Ghost appeared in some of X's comics and viceversa.
- Marked to Die: X's trademark. A single diagonal slash across your face meant that you were warned and you'd better not break his rules again; if he completed the X, he killed you. No exceptions.
- Mysterious Past: No one really knows who X is or where he came from, though clues to his origin are sprinkled throughout the series and is fully revealed during the final issues.
- '90s Anti-Hero: He becomes the poster boy of this trope, especially for Comics' Greatest World.
- One-Letter Name: X
- Only Known By His Nickname: Apart of his antihero nickname, in the younghood, he was known as Jack.
- Only One Name: In flashbacks when he was a child, is revealed his name is Johnny, no last name is revealed although.
- Pet the Dog: Give X some credit, when compared to most vigilante killers, he at least has the decency to give them a warning first.
- Red Is Violent: As most of '90s Anti-Hero characters of the time, X also has red as part of his outfit, mostly in the X on his head, the Badass Cape and the cords on his wristpads and boots.
- A Scar to Remember: X is an urban vigilante with a "two strikes" policy. If he caught you doing crime once, he'd put a diagonal scar across your face. If he caught you again, he'd kill you and add another diagonal slash to make an X.
- Wall of Weapons: The X copycat killer has a small room featuring walls completely covered in guns and blades in his house.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: X wants to clean his beloved Arcadia of corruption, and if he has to kill people to achieve it, then he'll do it.
- Wretched Hive: Arcadia is an orderly, smoothly run machine of a city. This is a world of shadow, danger, and bloody retribution. It is a city of corrupt officials and organized crime. The policemen who are not on the take are criminals in their own right.