Pick of the Week

May 6, 2004 – Uncanny X-Men #444

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Story by Chris Claremont
Art by Alan Davis
Inks by Mark Farmer
Colors by Frank D’Armata
Letters by Chris Eliopoulos

Published by Marvel Comics | $2.25

Oh come on, like you didn’t see it coming.

Uncanny X-Men #444 is the first book of the “Reloaded” event, where once again (and it seems far too often) Marvel realizes that the X-Men are their biggest cash cow, loads up with new creators, and goes off in an “all-new, all different” direction.

We tune into the merry mutants after the disasterous Magneto conflict that left the mansion in ruins, again. Now, if you’re a regular iFanboy reader, you won’t be surprised when I recap how I am a sentimental fool and sucker for familiar things. This issue is full of sentiment and familiarities, for both good and bad reasons.

I’ll start with the good:

  • Every few years, the X-Men get a beating, the mansion gets destroyed, and they’re left often hopeless. But somehow, they pull together, rebuild and move on, like a family. It’s one of my favorite aspects of the comic. This episode encompasses that notion. Sure, they’ve had hardships and they’ve dealt with death and long standing members leaving, but they’re optimistic and they will prevail. I’ve yet to read “this” story and not get that feeling, this time was no different
  • As in the past, the X-Men partake in a team baseball game. It’s one of the highlights every few years. It’s just a little thing to look forward to that reminds us that while they have powers, they’re just people too.
  • The characters! I know everyone says there are too many X-Men, etc. But thats something I’ve always loved. The concept of this extended family that stands by one another. In this issue alone, we get to see, even if briefly, characters ranging from the old standbys to the long forgotten.
  • The uniforms! The old blue and yellow school uniforms are back! And Wolverine, Storm and Nightcrawler were wearing them in the Danger Room! Man, I love those uniforms.
  • Alan Davis. As previously mentioned, Alan Davis was the first artist I’ve ever identified with for his art and it was on Excalibur, an X-Men spinoff, so it’s fantastic to see him back on the mutants and inked marvelously by Mark Farmer

Now with the good, there’s always the bad:

  • Quite often when we’re in this rebuilding phase, the story just kinda jumpstarts. There have been good ways of dealing with this, and bad ways. When X-Men #1 (Claremont & Jim Lee, circa 1990/91) came out, it handled the rebuild perfectly. It explained what had happened, what is happening now and how the team was organized. Last time Claremont “Returned” (circa 2000/2001), the restart was jumbled, rushed and not fully clarified and of course it stunk and didn’t stick. Unfortunately, this is a bit of a mixture of the two. I’m sure the other X-books will fill in the gaps, but there seems to have been alot happening in either between issues or in books I don’t read (*Cough* X-Treme X-Men *Cough*). But all of a sudden, the X-Men are a sanctioned by the U.N. Mutant Police force called the X.S.E. (Oooh! That was Bishop’s organization in the future!)?? There’s a new Marvel Girl? Gambit lost his powers? Not enough exposition to make this a comfortable read for me.
  • The uniforms. Now while I was glad to see them back in “uniform” and away from the leather/street clothes-Quitely look, and I was psyched to see the blue and gold school uniforms back, the new character specific uniforms are simply atrocious. Cannonball, Nightcrawler and Wolverine especially. They just don’t look “right.” I hope they revert back to their classic looks.

Luckily for me, the good outweighed the bad, and I’ve read this issue like 5 times already. Let’s just hope that the other X-Books and creators only build on the momentum I’m finally feeling around my favorite titles.

Ron Richards
Can fill in at second if they need me.
ron@ifanboy.com

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Comments

  1. “Not enough exposition to make this a comfortable read for me.”

    Wow, I don’t believe that’s ever been uttered by someone before regarding a Claremont comic book.

    Also, you are a huge X-Men fanboy.

  2. hey I’m the first to admit it…

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