Review by: comicBOOKchris

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Avg Rating: 3.3
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Penciller: GREG LAND

Size: 40 pages
Price: 3.99

I haven’t really liked Uncanny X-Men since around issue 500, and I never quite understood why. I still am very curious about what happens with all the X-characters, but this series hasn’t been scratching that itch as well as the other far superior books, like X-Men Legacy and X-Factor. I could never quite put my finger on what made me feel this way, but after reading this issue, I think that I have finally put my finger on what makes this book so mediocre.

It’s not that Matt Fraction is a bad writer. Far from it. His amazing work on Invincible Iron Man and The Order have shown that he can write a gripping and engaging superhero story. In Uncanny X-Men, however, Fraction has yet to tell a story that has been truly memorable, and this issue has all the symptoms of why I think this is the case, in terms of his scripts. First, the series’ A-plots too often calls to the past for its plots, and not in a good way. A good story that does this should reference the past while building on the old continuity. Birds Of Prey is a great example of a series that does this deftly. Here, we have the return of the Sublime Corporation and the cronies who are doing the deceased John Sublime’s bidding. In their last appearance, they were nothing but generic punching bags for the X-Men, which made for a rather boring story. Here, they are participating in a very Sublime-esque plot in which Sublime’s cronies infect the X-Men in order to create a group of genetically modified humans who have powers similar to the X-Men. Not only is this issue not terribly interesting, but it seems awfully derivative of past stories which were told in a much more entertaining and interesting manner. It does seem, however, that the remainder of this arc will focus on the smaller X-characters, so at least that seems we have that to look forward to.

And then there is Greg Land’s art, which is always a hot topic. Land is an artist who’s art I never found too appealing, despite thinking it was kind of pretty in some places. I never could find the words to why he wasn’t good, but after reading this issue, I now know the definite problem with his art. Land isn’t a bad artist solely for the fact that he traces. Many great artist use photo-references, including Tony Harris and Ralph Bakshi (They also use their models for the most part, but that’s an entirely different discussion). Greg Land is a bad artist because his art is lazy and uninspired beyond his references. Photo referenced art can be intriguing, but the artist has to add something to what he/she references. Land doesn’t seem to add anything interesting to the mix here, since we have a book with characters smiling the same smile, grimacing the same grimace, and looking concerned with the same concerned face…all while dressing up like the X-Men. Land characters don’t seem like characters, they seem like Sears catalog models. I wouldn’t mind if Land used these particular models as references, but the fact that his finished product can’t transcend this particular look makes him a bad artist.

There’s also a page of this issue that screamed “cheesy 90’s pinup art in the story context”. When Angel is taking to the de-facto X-Men, he announces that he asked an X-major leaguer to join their ranks. We then cut to an image of Storm outside the building, introducing herself to the teammates. The image didn’t match the scenario, however, as it was a picture of Storm flying carefree through the air, with that typical Land smile. It’s truly an image that, while reading the issue, you pause to ask yourself “…really?”   

This series is just very tired. Unmemorable stories with completely uninspired art. At least the dialog and character voices are spot on, that is a big positive aspect in Fraction’s scripts. Kieron Gillen is starting to co-write next issue, but I’m going to assume that this is going to bring more of a slow change than an instantaneous one. Nerveless, at least change will be coming soon.

Story: 3 - Good
Art: 1 - Poor


  1. I’m really hoping that Fraction can have one more chance to write a good story to finish off his run, if it’s this then I may be sadden. Cause I agree, Fraction isn’t terrible.

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