Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Uncanny X-Men #500 Review

UNCANNY X-MEN #500
Written by Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction
Art by Terry Dodson
Tracing by Greg Land

Well, this couldn't have turned out any worse than it did. I can't believe two of my favourite writers, who have co-written books together before, managed to put out one of the worst X-Men comics I've ever read. Okay, maybe not the worst, as it's hard to top Chuck Austen's run, but this wasn't that much better.

For starters, the team has moved to San Francisco, as we've all known was going to happen for a while and already saw in Astonishing X-Men a few weeks ago. However, there's no explanation for it other than they had to go out there for that hippy storyline Brubaker threw together.

We're also lead to believe that some random artist was able to buy three fully functional Sentinels, old school ones at that (not the Eva versions O*N*E* was sporting), and was able to import them into America and feature them in a highly publicized art exhibit? Where the hell was SHIELD or the FBI or any other local authority? I can't get on a plane with a bottle of water anymore and he's buying Sentinels at the dollar store. Do they just sell these Sentinels to anyone off the street? How the hell did an artist afford one, let alone three, of them?


It doesn't explain the fact this was a publicized event that allowed a civilian to set up three 20 meter tall walking death machines in downtown San Francisco.
Even if he purchased these on the black market or they were given to him for free, or any other contrived explanation you can think of, it doesn't explain the fact this was a publicized event that allowed a civilian to set up three 20 meter tall walking death machines in downtown San Francisco.

Let's ignore this ridiculous premise and skip to the actual event. Magneto, who was last seen depowered and portrayed like the Magneto we have always known in X-Men: Legacy, walks into the party in full costume, activates the Sentinels with his powers and proceeds to sic them on the unwitting X-Men who were in attendance to make sure nothing bad happens with these giant death machines on display.

This would be fine and dandy, as who doesn't like seeing Magneto and Sentinels and other classic X-Men villains in action, but the Magneto featured here is almost as retarded and out of character as Grant Morrison's drug using Hitler version in New X-Men, but nowhere near as entertaining or well written as Morrison's version.

Magneto isn't the only character written out of character as we've got Cyclops pulling pages out of Jeph Loeb's handbook with the always classy, "Suck it!" and the X-Men getting upset and joking about killing all of the human protestors upset over the Sentinels being used at the art showing.

Hell, Angel, who's the weakest X-Man by far, took one of the Sentinels out over San Francisco bay and destroyed it by himself, all off panel of course. He has no powers other than the ability to fly and the Sentinels were giving the heavy hitters some problems, yet he acts all cocky and ignores orders and requests for status updates while he goes off with the Sentinel in tow.

Later, Emma asks Scott if she can mindwipe a random party goer because he asked them for an autograph and Scott just jokes about not being able to tell anyways if they lobotimized him. Who are these assholes and what happened to the X-Men?


Cannonball, who hadn't been in the entire issue, shows up, slams into Magneto's back and ends the threat before disappearing just as quickly as he showed up.
What was the point of this Sentinel and Magneto battle? Well, it let them have their fastball special and other cliched moments while Magneto ranted like a petulent child. In the end, Cannonball, who hadn't been in the entire issue, shows up, slams into Magneto's back and ends the threat before disappearing just as quickly as he showed up. It is revealed that Magneto was using a specially designed suit to mimic his old powers and that Cannonball just damaged it.

Speaking of which, this battle ended up being a distraction so that the High Evolutionary could go off and do something to the sleeping Celestial before teleporting away to show that it was he who created Magneto's new costume and the two were teaming up together to do something together to save mutantkind. Looks like they are ignoring everything that happened in Annihilation: Conquest in regards to the HE, too.

Remember all that talk about disbanding the X-Men and the mansion just being a death trap and target for mutant haters to easily find and kill mutants? It is completely ignored as Cyclops sets up the exact same thing over in San Fran, right down to putting the new digs on the outskirts of the city just like the former mansion. He even goes on to, with the aid of Emma, pyschically call every other mutant on Earth and tell them to come to San Francisco where they can all live in peace and be happy or some crap. Obviously, no one is going to attack them in SF like they did in New York. If they wanted to move the team to a new location, that's fine, but don't bullshit the readers with some made up reasons that are contradicted the minute they move.

Regarding the artwork, I was surprised at how well Land and the Dodsons meshed together. I was expecting drastic shifts in style throughout the issue, but, aside from the occasional porn face on Land's part, the art was surprisingly consistent and turned out much better than I expected. I still hate Land's work and can't stand the fact Marvel is giving him such a high profile gig, but this wasn't his worst showing ever either.

Verdict - Avoid It. It might work as a jumping on point for some new readers, but I sure as hell wouldn't recommend it to anyone and won't be coming back to check this book out again for a long, long time.


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