Current Reviews


Uncanny X-Men #408

Posted: Friday, July 12, 2002
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: Joe Casey
Artist: Sean Phillips

Publisher: Marvel Comics

The book opens with Warren discovering that Charles Xavier's announcement that he's a mutant has drawn a cloud of suspicion over his business enterprises, and the media questions just how closely is Warren connected to the mind reading Xavier. However, after Nightcrawler arrives on the scene to divert attention away from the flustered Warren, the book looks in on the newest X-Man, Stacy X as we see her note the disapproval that she gets from her fellow X-Men about her continuing to use her mutant abilities on paying clients. However after Wolverine uses his old costume to illustrate a fairly simple idea to Stacy X, we see her start to reconsider the idea that the X-Men are in the wrong when it comes to their treatment of her. We then follow her as she visits her latest client, who we see is a dying man seeking Stacy X's help in releasing him from his never-ending pain. After looking in on the X-Men as they investigate a string of overdoses involving the power granting drug that their old enemy, the Vanisher has unleashed on the drug community, we rejoin Stacy X who has granted this man's wish, but she leaves without taking his money.

Since this issue is the one that finally gets around to showcasing the character of Stacy X, I guess I should take some time offer up my thoughts on the character. To be completely truthful even after this issue, Stacy X strikes me as a poorly realized character. Her powers are visually unengaging, and I'm not too sure I care much for her ability to end a fight with a single touch, as we'll either be handed a one-sided affair with an abrupt finish, or an encounter where the other party is fully aware of her power. As for her character elements, I can't say I find her problem overly interesting either, as she's basically presented as a thin-skinned prostitute who finds the X-Men disapprove of her lifestyle. Now her "problem" does allow Wolverine to come in and offer up one of his obligatory talks that he has with all the new X-Men, with this being the second such conversation that Joe Casey's offered up during his run on the title. However, the simple fact of the matter is Stacy X is a flat character, with a uninteresting power & the obligatory chip of the shoulder that seems to come standard with all new X-Men.

It is nice to see elements that are playing out in this book's sister title starting to make their presence felt in this title, with Warren's press conference being a nice realization of the problems that Xavier's statements has caused for Warren. Now I must confess I don't quite get the logic behind Kurt's spotlight grabbing arrival (nor did I understand his opening German statements, even after I ran them through an online German to English translator at the Babelfish web-site). However, as a fan of Kurt's swashbuckling era, I'm actually quite pleased to see him attempting to recapture the spirit of this period from his past. As for the plot involving the Vanisher & his mutant power granting drug, while I find the logistics behind such a drug hard to swallow, I do like the fact that Joe Casey has actually put a face to this latest threat, and better yet that he's actually got the X-Men working to combat this evil. I like seeing the X-Men take a more proactive stance when it comes to problems such as this, even though Grant Morrison's work over in the "New X-Men" has pretty much turn the whole mutant/human war on its ear.

I could make issue of yet another issue featuring art by this book's supposed guest-artist, and that this makes four issues Sean Phillips provided the art for since Ron Garney's much ballyhooed arrival eight issues ago. However, complaining about Marvel's seeming inability to find artists who have proven track records when it comes to delivering twelve issues in a calendar year has begun to feel like a fruitless endeavor, especially when Marvel begins to make plans to increase the number of issues they put out each year. Now Sean Phillips work doesn't jump off the page, and it relies a bit too much on heavy shadows to hide the fact that its backgrounds are rather sparsely detailed. However, his work is quite effective at establishing a sense of foreboding, and there is a quiet dignity to the scene where Stacy X uses her powers to make the dying man's time more pleasant. The opening credit page arrival of Nightcrawler is also a nice flashy visual, and the cover is certainly going to grab the attention of the passing X-Fan, if only for the appearance by Wolverine's original yellow & blue costume.

Final Word:
Given she's been kicking around this book for the better part of a year, it's about time that Stacy X got some time in the spotlight, and I'll even concede that Joe Casey does some fairly interesting things with the character's rather limited development. The idea of her continuing to use her powers for her own personal gain is a fairly novel idea in these pages, as I believe Dazzler's the only other X-Man that had herself another fairly successful career thanks to her mutant gift, before joining the X-Men. Now the problem that Stacy X solves in this issue does feel a bit contrived, as the dying man's crisis does seem to be tailor-made for Stacy X's power to solve, and the ending isn't all that difficult to see coming. However the issue does offer up a better than average, "Welcome to the X-Men, rookie" speech from the welcome wagon that is Wolverine, and the secondary plot involving the Vanisher & his power-granting drugs looks interesting.

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