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Uncanny X-Men #420

Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Chuck Austen
Artist: Kia Asamiya

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot:
With help rushing to the scene, we see Husk & Archangel are involved in a desperate battle to survive against a host of savage werewolves. Meanwhile back at the X-Mansion, we see Xavier makes a disturbing discovery about Annie's young son.

Comments:
I realize that Chuck Austen is limited in what characters he can use, but the simple fact of the matter is that Husk is Cannonball's younger sister, and as such I'm having trouble not being creeped out by the idea of her being involved in a romance with Warren. There's also the incredibly awkward way that Chuck Austen has set up this little romance, as there's some downright painful exchanges between these two that clearly display Chuck Austen's inability to have these characters connect on a level that's more complex than "he's a boy & she a girl" mentality.

I mean Warren's final exchange where he decides he's able to move on is downright awful, which in turn makes the highly suggestive nature of that final page even more disconcerting. However even without this romance, the simple fact of the matter is that this issue is a flat, unimaginative adventure, where the main villains completely fail to convey any real sustained sense of danger, and in a truly dreadful creative decision we see Chuck Austen has conveniently given Warren a new mutant gift, in which his blood is able to miraculously heal injuries. As for the art, I will give Kia Asamiya credit for conveying a nice sense of urgency when Warren & Paige are fleeing the werewolves, and the explosive climax to this adventure is quite impressive from a visual standpoint.

Final Word:
I want to like this book, as in terms of its cast, it's managed to litter its lineup with at least a half-dozen characters who I'm delighted to see back in the limelight. I also enjoy the idea that this book appears to be taking a more traditional approach to super-heroics, at least when one compares it to it's sister title. However, the simple truth of the matter is that while I'm prepared to embrace this title, Chuck Austen seems to feel the need to bog the entire book down with soap opera style plots, as we're inundated with overblown melodrama, and romances that seem to exist solely because two characters happen to be standing in the same room. This book is a bit like an exercise is pointless plot devices, as we have an abundance of ideas that seem to serve very little purpose other than the fact that they fill pages, and the main plot involving the werewolf threat is a complete nonstarter of an idea whose central premise is borderline goofy.



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