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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Review of Uncanny X-Men #500


Story by: Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction
Art by: Greg Land, Terry Dodson, Jay Leisten, Rachel Dodson
Colors by: Justin Ponsor
Letters by: Joe Caramagna
Covers by: Various
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Brief Synopsis: The X-Men team, consisting of Cyclops, Emma Frost, Wolverine, Beast, and Angel are showing the mayor of San Francisco around their new base of operations. The city is really excited to have them based in their city, even to the point where out of nowhere, Angel is dating the mayor. Is there any woman Worthington won’t throw it to?

The merriment comes to an end however (if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be an “X” book) when the mayor reveals a juicy little nugget about an artist acquiring three decommissioned Sentinel robots to use in his art installation. Everyone acts outraged, except for Wolverine who I am assuming felt the same way I did. I mean, really, when was the last time Sentinels were a remotely dangerous threat? Hell, during M-Day, they were supposed to be protectors of the school (which I thought was always pretty stupid when you had all those mutants running around in the house.) Wolvie exits out the back while the rest of the team throws a hissy fit.

The X-Men go to the art exhibit where everyone is dressed up like classic X-Men for some reason. It’s kind of confusing because you don’t know which are real and which are costumes. Colossus shows up out of nowhere and it took me a minute to realize he was Colossus and not some guy in costume. Magneto attacks Colossus, seemingly with his powers restored, and he reactivates the Sentinels. He then proceeds to pretty much handle the entire team by himself.

Random X-Men start being introduced, like Nightcrawler and Storm, as if they were there the entire time. Even Cannonball pops in for a well timed hit on Magneto. Wolverine and Colossus take out one Sentinel and Angel, who at first needs a plan about the Sentinel in pursuit, takes it out single handedly off panel.

Magneto is defeated and it is revealed he does not in fact have his mutant powers. He was wearing a suit designed for him by the High Evolutionary of all people. Magneto gets to yell at the X-Men for a bit before he disappears . All of this fighting was the basis for a distraction so the High Evolutionary could acquire “a piece” from the Dreaming Celestial for a plan the reader is not yet privy to. I can only assume they are trying to restore all the lost mutant powers.

Epilogue one involves Cyclops broadcasting a message to all known mutants using just Emma’s powers, a message about San Francisco being a safe haven for mutants. Epilogue two sees Wolverine finding the corpse of the artist who put the Sentinels on display. Finally, epilogue three introduces Pixie being stalked by the Hellfire Cult.



Pros: After some initial apprehension, I’m digging the switch to San Francisco. Not because it’s San Francisco, but the fact the X-Men are no longer in the same place. Their mansion has been destroyed and rebuilt so many times that it was time for a change for scenery. I also like the fact that they are not feared or ridiculed in their new home.

I’m glad Storm is back in the X-Men universe. I don’t read ‘Black Panther’ so I have no idea what has been going on with Storm for a while now. She is one character that they need to bring back to prominence. I think her downfall started with the “X-Men” movie. Ever since then, Marvel has done some really stupid story lines with her. Remember “X-Treme X-Men” when she became some sort of gladiator warrior who killed for sport? Chris Claremont wrote it so you know it was shit. Here’s hoping they finally get around to fixing her character. Rogue would be due for a reboot as well. Claremont ruined her for years to come as well.

Multiple plots were started in this issue which hopefully bear fruit over the next couple of months. I have grown tired of self contained stories or arcs that are only necessary to fill out trade paperbacks. I want to see more of events being put into motion months before the payoff.



Cons: If the Dreaming Celestial is going to play a role in any of the plot threads, I think new readers should have been given a brief back story. What is the Dreaming Celestial? Why is it there? How did it get there? All of these points might be explained later, but if you’re a new reader it could be off putting. I read so many Marvel books that I vaguely remember how it got there so I would have liked a refresher.

I’ve personally never been a fan of the High Evolutionary so when he was introduced as being in league with Magneto you could say I was less than thrilled. I guess the only way this will work out is if he is in fact trying to jump start the mutant race again. I always thought Mr. Sinister would be the one and the X-Men would have to decide if they wanted his help or not. Time will tell on that one.

Marvel has a problem with continuity between books and it was evident here. Didn’t Angel just lose his wings and revert back to his Archangel persona in the pages of “X-Force”? I hate the storyline in “X-Force” so hopefully they sweep that under the rug, but it was still jarring to see Angel as two different people in two different books in two different weeks.

I did not like the epilogue where Cyclops broadcasted his thoughts to all known mutants. Charles Xavier had problems reaching far distances even when he used Cerebro. Now Emma can just touch every mind unassisted? That seemed unnecessary to me.

I did not like the splitting of art duties between Greg Land and Terry Dodson. They have two completely different styles that do not work together. And speaking of Land, I tend to like his art, but for some reason this issue really bothered me. Did anyone else notice how many people were smiling? I counted 51 smiling faces throughout the book. It was really distracting that everyone would be that happy all the time. He also doesn’t draw faces on far away characters. On the first page of the main story, the last panel, Storm and Emma don’t have faces. That bothers me.

I don’t know who wrote the line, but whoever made Cyclops say “Suck it” should be fired immediately.



Conclusion: Wow, a lot more cons than pros. I guess that would make one believe I didn’t like the book, which isn’t true. It has its flaws, but at least the X-Men have a defined direction, which is something they have sorely lacked the last few years. I’m a big fan of Brubacker and I’m hoping he can restore the X-Men to prominence.

Disagree with my review? Leave me a comment.

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