Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 03.24.2010 – Uncanny X-Men #522

What did the
iFanboy
community think?

579
Pulls
Avg Rating: 4.1
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 13.4%
 
Users who pulled this comic:
WRITER: Matt Fraction
PENCILS: Whilce Portacio & Phil Jimenez
INKS: Ed Tadeo & Andy Lanning
COLORED BY: Justin Ponsor & Soto
LETTERED BY: Joe Caramagna
COVER BY: Terry Dodson

Size: 40 pages
Price: 3.99

Oh come on, like you're surprised? 

The return of Kitty Pryde is something that could have gone in any number of directions and I'll be honest, ever since they announced it was happening, I was worried about how it would play out.  You see, if I'm honest with you (and I try to be, always), the fate of Kitty and the ending of Astonishing X-Men never really sat well with me.  I loved Whedon's run, and understood from a story standpoint after getting Kitty and Colossus together, they had to be ripped apart.  But something about Kitty being trapped in space in that damn space bullet just hurt.  I hated the fact that she's been gone from the pages of the X-Men, but I also knew that bringing here back meant revisiting the space bullet, and that meant being reminded of that ending…a vicious cycle that, again to be honest, I've been trying to avoid.

 

I have to hand it to Marvel and to Matt Fraction.  In this day and age of advanced solicitations and spoilers, I do commend them for being open and honest about this and just coming out and saying "KITTY IS COMING BACK."  The day and age of the surprise cliffhanger at the end of a comic book is long gone, especially when it comes to the death or return of a character.  As far as the idea of bringing her back at all, it's comics.  I knew from the moment I finished reading Astonishing X-Men that someone would bring her back eventually.  So knowing that she was returning and that it was Fraction doing it, it became less about the fact that she was returning and more about how and what the ramifications would be.

 

Given the situation of the X-Men currently, I don't think that Matt Fraction could have written a better "Kitty Returns" story than the one was published here.  I have to give him some more credit with the dead simple concept that Magneto is able to use his powers to pull the metal bullet back towards Earth.  It's a concept that's devilishly simple and one that even with Magneto's return to the fold, I didn't think of, which is why I don't write comics.  I find it interesting that it's so simple that it only took one issue to lead up to this.  One day Magneto just went to the top of a mountain and started concentrating and made it happen.  It's so simple, it's elegant.

 

The elegance of the simplicity of the story allowed Fraction to write a story that is just about as pitch perfect when it comes to X-Men as it gets.  This issue had so much emotional resonance that I found myself reading the issue slower than I normally read a comic.  Taking in every page and every panel and then slowly turning the page, my stomach in knots as I watch the events unfold. 

 

Having Whilce Portacio on pencils for the issues was another sentimental hit, at least for me.  You see, my first exposure to Portacio was in the pages of X-Factor, and then eventually Uncanny X-Men, before he left for Image Comics.  Seeing Portacio draw these characters that nearly 20 years ago I fell in love with was breath-taking to me.  Now this is a reaction I can't imagine anyone else in the world to have besides me.  It's a very personal connection that I happen to have with a group of characters and a group of artists (Romita Jr., Silvestri, Jim Lee and Portacio) that define those characters in my mind.  So to have such a emotional story with one of those artists was almost more than I could stand.

 

I can't speak for other X-Men fans, but for me, it's hard to put into words how important Kitty Pryde is.  She is the heart of the X-Men.  She's the girl that I related to as I read of her introduction to the team and as she grew up through the years.  I fell in love with her, I felt brokenhearted when she did, I cheered for her as she fought alongside her teammates.  Basically Kitty Pryde represented what we, as kids at least, thought we could be if we were in the X-Men, all the while doing it in a way that was impossible not to fall in love with her.

 

In the pages of Uncanny X-Men #522, we're able to feel that connection that Kitty Pryde has with her other teammates.  There's one specific panel featuring Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus and the other X-Men as they watch Magento bring Ktity back down to earth and I swear, I could feel the tension as they watched.  And then to see Colossus run to his love and then to see how Fraction was going to make this return interesting was just gut-wrenching.  FInishing the issue up with a series of silent panels showing the aftermath of the issues events, followed by snapshots of the X-Men living their lives was just a fantastic ending.  If this were a TV show, I could hear the music as we see these scenes transpire, ending with Cyclops embracing Emma as the sun rises over San Francisco and the X-Men's Utopia.  Classy.

 

I was worried about the return of Kitty Pryde but Matt Fraction and Whilce Portacio delivered without a doubt one of the best issues of Uncanny X-Men I've read in a long while.  Throw in an excellent back up story by Fraction with art by Phil Jimenez and Andy Lanning, and this issue was $3.99 well spent.  This issue marks the first step towards the next chapter of the X-Men, and who knows if it will live up to the expectations that 20 years of X-Men comics have built up inside of all of us; probably not (as sometimes I think we're self destined to never have the kind of X-Men comics that we want, but that's another story completely).  But for right now, Kitty is back, and while of course there are complexities and problems, she's back and for a brief moment, all is right in the world.

 

Ron Richards
No, I don't read Scalped
ron@ifanboy.com

 

Comments

  1. Uncunny X-men? never heard of them.

  2. I really loved this issue. Without being hyperbolic, I declared the best single issue of Uncanny X-Men I’ve read in neigh on a decade. It felt… *right*. I also loved Poracio’s art. Great stuff. Close to being my pick, but so much else was contending for my attention. Hell, I almost picked The Guild!

  3. Wow, what a shocker!! 😉

    Seriously, I read this and loved it and knew almost instantly that you would too, Ron. Damn fine issue. 

  4. Nice review, but that cover image of Kitty does her no favors.  Seriously, she looks like an evil bitch of a school-marm.

  5. I loved this issue, and I haven’t been enthused about Uncanny since early in the the Utopia crossover.  The characters have felt disconnected from each, and this issue was the first time in agest I felt like the X-Men were a team again.  I guess we have Kitty (and Magneto??) to thank for that.  I thought the series of wordless panel toward the end of the main story were a nice shoutout to Whedon & Cassaday’s ending of "Astonishing," which did something similar.  Plus, I love the way Portacio drew Angel’s feathers!

    But seriously, this might have gotten my pick of the week just for Wolverine naming beer as a vegetable.

  6. Ok, I’m surprised.  

    I didn’t read this book so I really can’t comment, but I did read Nemesis which REALLY has me intrigued on where its going to go.

  7. I completely agree. That issue was one of the best X-Men issues in recent history and I’m mad b/c I was just about to drop it and get 4 bucks back each month. Fraction killed me with twist when Kitty returns. Just a fantastic issue from start to finish. Definitely my pick as well.

  8. Well, maybe this is good again. I’ll give it a second look. Look forward to hearing you talk about it onthe next podcast. 

  9. I’m by no means done with my books– or the ones from last week or the week before that– but this did get moved directly to the top of the pile, and I’m glad it did. It was skillfully done and packed an emotional wallop.

    I did spend a lot of time I shouldn’t have spent trying to translate what Magneto said to her in Polish or German or Yiddish or whatever-it-is.

  10. Great call Ron on the POW. 

     Matthew

  11. Cliffhangers and big omg endings can still be found in TWD and Invincible, thankfully.  X-Factor also shocked the living crap outta me last year.

  12. @Mguy:

    HA! I read your comment and just saw: "Ron on the POW".
  13. I’m glad to hear that Portacio’s art didn’t ruin the issue.  I won’t read this issue as I’m not the biggest X-Men fan, but everything I’ve seen Portacio draw in the last few years has not been good.  If he was good in this one, I hope he can keep it up for his fans.

    Sadly, I haven’t even touched my books yet, although I did read Brave and the Bold from last week and it was awesome.

  14. I have zero interest in the X books, but I’m looking forward to hearing this discussion on the podcast. Love listening to Ron talking about Xmen.

    I guess Ron Vs X-Men Forever is the podcast I want!

  15. DRINK.

    I also want Ron Vs. X-Men Forever. 

  16. I stopped reading X-Men a long time ago, but this was still a great pick. Without reading the last few years of X-Books (except X-Factor), this review completely told me why it was great in a way I can totally relate too. I have been missing the X-Men as of late, so I’ve been reading through the Essential X-Men series of trades, which has all the stories I love from the 70s and early 80s. I’m at a point where Kitty is the youngest, newest member of the team, and she’s such a great character. She’s always been one of my favorite X-Men and this review brought all that home for me. Good job Ron!

    (I also want a Ron vs the X-Men podcast, but not X-Men Forever, the real Uncanny X-Men title) 

     

  17. Hate Kitty and Collossus both.  They should both take a dirtnap so we can get on with our lives.   ‘Nuff said.

  18. As I said before, I’m one generation of X-Fan removed from the time Ron is, it sounds like. As such, my touchstone has always been with Jubilee, either through the ’90s cartoon or her time spent on Uncanny, then later Generation X.

    As such, Kitty (to me) was something of an absent character, spending most of her time with Excalibur, a book I wasn’t reading. She kinda popped in, every now and then, took a look at the furniture, critquied it and then moved along. To be honest, I always thought her as something of a wet blanket. I can remember when Claremont was on Wolverine and did his "bout" with adamantium Sabertooth. Kitty played a role in that and I, for the life of me, never understood her appeal.

    That is until Whedon’s Astonishing run, and going back through the Claremont archives. Though she hasn’t replaced Kitty in terms of my affections, I understand where Ron is coming from. And I can’t wait to read this issue, along with all the rest of my comics, at the end of the month. 

    A great write up.

    -J.

  19. I guess I have a reason to come back to X-Men again.  I tried Nation X for a bit and felt it was kind of meh, but after reading this, I may come back.  I just hope I’m hear to stay because I hate keep coming back and leaving over and over again on a book I’ve loved since the mid 80’s.

  20. @Jimski  Did you figure it out?  I was assuming it was Hebrew, but haven’t had the chance to try and figure it out.

  21. I need some help here.  I’m not nearly as hard-core a comics reader as many of you here, so I’m a bit lost.  I read all of the Astonishing X-Men, but I gathered that series had ended.  How am I, as a more casual reader, supposed to know where and when the story is going to continue?  Was "Astonishing X-Men" part of "Uncanny X-Men" cannon?  If so, I just want to know where I need to pick up on Uncanny in order to continue the story.  I assume it’s before this book.

    Sorry, but how on earth am I supposed to know these things?  It gets really frustrating sometimes.

    Oh, and Ron, I completely disagree with you regarding spoilers.  It is possible to avoid them.  Of course, it helps when the media is responsible and doesn’t give these things away. 

  22. Oops, I meant "canon."

  23. He can pull the bullet back from space but he couldn’t float the island? Sometimes simple is too simple. I do look forward to kitty’s return and maybe some community in the x-men again I think the recent stories have been great for developing Scott- but it seems at the rest of the other x-men’s expense. One more thing- I really hope we’re done with villianizing Charles- Enough we get it- he did some bastardly things,. Bring back Charles Xavier.

  24. @ericmci He only had to pull the bullet once (and it took a LOT of effort), he’d have to constantly be holding the island up.  It’s not a one time fix.

  25. I’d show up bat-s**t crazy if I was in a space bullet with no eating sleeping (or baf-rooming).

  26. @dignan17 – Unfortunately man, just about all the X-Books share the same continuity. So it’s not as simple as you wan it to be. Not a case of Astonishing X-Men ends and Uncanny takes over on issue x. Basically, there’s a reason people give Ron a hard time for his love of all convoluted things X-Men. Also, pretty much the only book that doesn’t fall into the overall X continuity is X-Men Forever. And I guess now X-Factor Forever, which exist in their universes.

  27. Ahhh I love it that Uncanny is getting some love! I’ve moved to Trades for my Xmen fix–the fully collected Utopia trade did it for me. I really enjoy reading a complete crossover like that without having to track down so many issues. Reading that trade it’s clear that there is some great NON continuity heavy storytelling going on in Uncanny now. It’s just better than it used to be…Fraction knows what he’s doing with the title.

     

  28. That article tease line on the main page was word for word what I posted on twitter and mass texted to everyone I know right after I read this on my way home from the shop yesterday.

  29. @leonard – I guess since she was phased the whole time she didn’t need to? NO-PRIZE!

  30. Not too sure about this as a pick. Love Kitty and it’s great to have her back, but it felt too quick in a way.  Loads of buildup and then it’s over.  And the last few, silent pages were kind of jarring and, in places too disconnected from the main story.  Portacio’s work was a damn sight better than that Batman story, but he’s still not as good as I remember from the 90s. Still, just an opinion.

  31. I’m not surprised.

    But then again I don’t have to be. Good choice, and I can see why the return of Kitty means so much to everyone. Glad to see that she’s finally back in the Marvel U.

    Pick was Green Lantern #52 though; for more jaw dropping pages by Mahnke and a meta-physical origin for the DCU. 

  32. Lovely review Ron, though I didn’t enjoy the second story much – it reminded me of the GL Corps back-ups in early Eighties Green Lantern comics – little parables atarring dull aliens.

     Can anyone explain the page with Emma and Namor? I’ve not been keeping up. 

  33. i agree @misterj – kitty pride looks extremely evil on this cover . brewhahaha

  34.  

    This may not be the first time that someone had suggested this. May I suggest a feature that disables the display of the POTW percentage? It would only show after you have made your pick, so that everyone’s POTW will be as honest as possible. Including iFanboy.

    Just a suggestion. Not necessarily about this particular pick.

    And I’m not surprised, Ron.

  35. @Nathan I don’t understand the reason for this question? Are you suggesting that people are unduly influenced? Aren’t the popularity percentages just a bit of fun?  

  36. @NathanNicado: Our Pick is always honest. Are you suggesting otherwise? The Pick of the Week percentage is, as Mart says, just a bit of fun.

  37. I never had the affection for Kitty Pryde taht so many others did. She wasn’t the imaginary kid sister, she was a fantasy girl and she was my viewpoint into the world of the X-Men. This book just had good damn moments.  Magneto’s selfless(?) desire to prove himself. Scott’s contradictory feelings on the situation. The trick at the end. This is the kind of writing Fraction is doing on Iron Man that makes me love his traditional super hero work as well as his off beat creator owned. This was the best issue of his run on the book so far. Portacio should be lauded here too. Are there better artists? Sure. But he drew the hell out of this issue. This is his best art in a decade at least.

  38. @Mart/Conor: No, I know you guys are always honest with your picks. It’s just that it seems more fulfilling when you pick something and then you find out people think so, too. I’m not saying that you guys are influenced by the percentages. (i.e. Scalped vs Blackest Night !)

  39. a bittersweet ending for sure.  I also love that Mr. Fantastic does all of his communicating with his teammates behind him so that we know who he is. haha 

    let me just speak on the back-up for a moment.  that was awesome!  we all knew the ending half-way through the first page, but Fraction and Jimenez still knocked it out of the park.  definitely a microcosm of what Ron said in his review.  it’s not what’s going to happen but how and why that’s important.

  40. oh! and the foreshadowing of that cover.  look at how she’s more and more transparent from top to bottom.  beautiful!

  41. @j206: You’re forgetting Loeb’s Ultimate X which I won’t get into lest I Loeb-bash.

    @ActualButt: Nice! XD.

    @odare77: You should have seen the artwork he was showcasing at ECCC. Great stuff. I think it’s all about the amount of time given nowadays. I think since he’s gotten older he needs a little more time to deliver a great style. So I wouldn’t knock him for a bad panel here and there.

  42. I picked this up when I saw it was PoTW as a person who doesnt read xmen comics at all, I grew up w/ the old cartoons and watched the movies, thats all I know about these characters and I have to admit I was choked up all the way thru this book. All I knew about the utopia arc was what was said on the ifanboy podcast all i knew about the bullet was what was said in the first 2 pages but man did I get emotional reading this comic! Maybe Im a big sucker for this kind of thing but the fact that magneto of all people would sacrifice himself/his health just to say sorry was really touching. The way Scott reacted when he heard the news of kitty and that magneto was doing this…it felt like 2 enemies making amends. I wasnt bogged down the continuity of whos whos, why is magneto helping the xmen (scott and emma are together?wtf), I went w/ the flow and fucking loved this issue!  

     

  43. Hmm, the undersea Emma scene, anybody? Please! 🙂

  44.  I know on the podcast there are discussions about continuity and I am firmly on the side of keeping continunity between characters and situations. The last 2 issues of Uncanny are a good reason.

    My thoughts about continuity are as follows, without continuity it is hard to get emotionally attached to a character. I had no idea that Kitty was ever gone, since I don’t read Astonishing X-men. Therefore, until last issue I had no idea what a space bullet was, who was in it, where it was going, and when that happened. If in the 2 X-Men titles that I do read, the other characters had maybe reacted to it I would have had more of an emotional response to thefact that she was coming back. (Although I do suppose that explains why Colossus got all pissy with those Russian mobsters) 

     As for the issue itself, I was completely engrossed despite not having the necessary background. The art was fantastic and I completely miss Portacio. To me his (and Jim Lee’s) renderings of the X-Men  are what got me into comics in the first place.

    Either way, not my pick of the week, but about as close as I have ever come to picking the same issue as the Ifanboy crew.

  45. would this be a good JOP?

    who else hears Ron’s voice while reading the review?

  46. I don’t know about jumping-on point, because I think the x-books are about to go into a major crossover and you may not want to commit to that.  But it’s a decent standalone issue for catching you up on where the X-Men are now.  (I haven’t read this title in a while and it was pretty clear to me  — though if you haven’t read Whedon’s ‘Astonishing X-Men’ run it might not mean as much).

  47. i haven’t read any x books ever.

  48. I haven’t read this issue yet but I have read the Whedon "Astonishing" run. I love Whedon’s writing & I loved that book. Having said that, I too was extremely put off by his handling of Kitty at the end. First of all, I really didn’t understand why he gave her such a grim fate. Everything I ever heard about his love of Kitty & the old 80’s X books made no sense why he would take her out like that. He’s even been quoted as saying Buffy was loosely patterned after Kitty. Well listen, I grew up with Kitty. When Chris Claremont wrote in X-Men 138 back in 1980, "She’s 13 1/2, cute, spunky–& she walks through walls", I was hooked. I was 14, (still trying to figure out how she’s like…20 now & I’m 44). However, having said all that, I will read this issue purely on your recomendation. Thanks!

  49. I don’t know if you remember, but the kitty phased situation was already addresed a long time ago in the X-MEN vs F4 crossover. As a result of the mutant massacre, she couldn’t unphase and she was going to die. A Dr. Doom machine saved her.  Also, "Stop making that phase, you’re going to get stuck" Props Josh. 

  50. Didn’t this kitty stuck in phase story already happen?

  51. @ Ragu73:  you are right, I remember the 80’s miniseries "F4 vs X-Men" in which Dr Doom saves Kitty from "permanent intangibility".

  52. Can somebody please explain to me how and Whilce Portacio still has work?  This issue wasn’t as bad as other stuff I’ve seen, but holy crap.  I’m stoked that Kitty’s back. This and Astonishing are the only two X-Books I’m still reading (Sorry Ron).  I guess we will see where this goes.  Hopefully it will put Colossus back into the swing of things.

Leave a Comment