Tuesday, August 5, 2008

File #13: Not so Uncanny, 500

Story: Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction
Art: Greg Land & Terry Dodson
Inkers: Jay Leisten and Rachel Dodson

A 500th issue in the world of comics is a big deal and should be treated like such.

From trying to gain its fanbase while trying out new concepts and ideas, while staying true to its core story (and make money while doing so), making it past the 500 mark in comics, while not a uncommon feat, is a major accomplishment.

The X-Men franchise, specifically Uncanny X-Men, or X-Men Vol. 1 is the last of Marvel's heavy hitters to hit the 500 mark. With over 4 different variant covers & two well respected writers, does Uncanny 500 establish itself as a well done and memorable issue to 45 years of history?

Yes and No. Okay, definitely no.

The story, which focuses on the reappearance of two classic foes from the X-Men's past felt somewhat lame compared to the underlying B-plot, which is the city of San Fransisco giving mutantkind sanctuary status. The first, a trio of
Sentinels, set up Chekov's Gun style as an instalation in an art project generates expected hostility from the X-Men. The other cameo which I wont spoil will either depending on the reader, will either bring out your inner fanboy shriek of glee, or make you bang your head against the wall when you think how out of character this is, if you've been keeping up with current continuity.

The major weakness for this issue is the art. I am not a fan of Greg Land by any means. While he is a talented artist in his own right, his art suffers from the worst character design this side of
Hisashi Hirai (think "same face different hair", even on Storm). His inspirations, mostly from images on Google, skew from his preference to have his women look as if they're performing porn. There are also some glaring gaffes in continuity in continutity from hair design to proportions. Dodson on the other hand, is much better, however the incosistency of placing his art beteween Greg Land's is jarring and at times grating. Lastly, in a minor nitpick, the X-Teams seem to be making a return to the "FABULOUS" costumes which dominated the 90's. I was hoping the "Big Red 'X's everywhere and all over" phase would've been gone forever, but thanks to bad editorial decisions, it looks like in short time, everyone's gonna be wearing hideous blue and yellow tights with 15 pockets. Ugh.

Overall, for a landmark issue, Uncanny 500 does everything mentioned in the first paragraph. Is it a memorable issue? No. Is it a well done issue? Hell no. But It will please the hardcore fanboys while seting up a status quo for future events. How well will those ideas will develop and play out in the long run remains yet to be seen.

Hopefully, Fraction and Brubaker can work the kinks out. But for the time being, I'll be happy with a single artist.

Even if it's Greg Land. Ugh.

3 Out of 5 Stars

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