Here's the first volume of the final series in the Earth X trilogy, Marvel's epic attempt at reimagining its universe of characters and continuities. After enduring revelations and battles in Earth X and Universe X, the story finds dozens of Marvel heroes from various points in their stories assembled to stop the Celestials from using Earth as a host for their life forms; they also want to save their own worlds in the process. Krueger's writing of this tale is nearly Homeric in its proportions. Characters not seen for decade resurface as their own individual stories unfold. Dr. Strange, the X-Men and Captain America each are involved in soul-searching dilemmas and battles that will determine the conclusions of their careers. Krueger does a fine job with an unenviable task, and manages to make the numerous subplots fairly engaging. The story is heavy on earth-shattering events and high drama, but it moves at a brisk pace. The fairly standard, clear and accessible artwork uses a minimum of pyrotechnics, and the surplus of characters alone is enough to keep readers hooked. While not recommended for the uninitiated, those following the trilogy will find Paradise X a satisfying start to the conclusion. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.