UNCANNY X-MEN #511
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Since the departure of Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction has been completely overhauling the X-Men in both tone and characterization. The changes, some subtle and others not so subtle, have been delivered through shifts in the way characters act or interact, in the dialogue being used, and in the settings of the stories. The result is a much more socially-conscious and “hip” take on Marvel’s merry mutants, and it offers readers both new and old a change of pace that’s easier to jump on to. Be advised that the writing style won’t be for everyone; it certainly isn’t directed at me and I generally find the banter tiresome and annoying, but it clearly has some appeal to a different audience and I applaud Marvel for taking a chance on this new approach. It reminds me of the way Grant Morrison re-envisioned the team, and although for my own personal tastes I found Morrison’s run to be a much better experience that doesn’t mean that Fraction’s X-Men won’t find the same kind of popularity.
The art for Fraction’s run has been produced in alternating arcs by Greg Land and Terry Dodson, which is an odd combination of styles. This issue features art by both, although Dodson only draws two pages (you’ll be able to tell which ones VERY easily) so this is primarily a Land story. Greg Land’s art is heavily referenced from photographs and is heavily finished with photoshopped tones and textures to produce a somewhat “realistic” rendering. Greg Land must have his fans, although they rarely seem to appear on this board, and I definitely prefer Dodson’s art for his creativity and his storytelling. I generally find Land’s work to be out of synch with the story and his panels to be unimaginative, and this issue was no exception.
This issue wrapped-up a four-part storyline and I found the conclusion to be anticlimactic, and the general narrative a bit confusing because of the panel layouts and art. The concluding sequence, which features Beast confronting Scott and Emma, seemed out of place and sets up a confrontation that feels awkward and not very exciting at this point. I really enjoyed the last Dodson arc (issues 504-507) and I’m hoping that when he returns it will bring back the spark of enjoyment that I felt before this recent storyline. I suspect that my severe dislike for this recent story was increased by my visceral reaction to the art.
Art: 1 - Poor