Editor's Note: Uncanny X-Men #496 arrives in stores tomorrow, March 5.
Plot: As Cyclops and Emma Frost search for their friends in a bizarre time-displaced San Francisco, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Colossus lament the old days and old loves in a bar in Russia.
Commentary: A woman moves to the riffs and beats of In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida. The pads of her cat feet press against the floor, and trance of the music pulls her away from years of fighting and loss. And after so many heavy storylines, epic plots, earth-shattering events, it's nice to read an X-title and watch characters like Hepzibah, Wolverine, Angel, Nightcrawler, and Colossus, just chill out.
Not to say there isn't plenty of story in this issue. Brubaker focuses on character development in relaxed settings: a Russian bar, the cockpit of the Blackbird, and the porch of a San Francisco home. This lets the X-Men spread out and relate to one another on a more imitate level. For example, as Cyclops summarizes the events of last issue, Emma replies, You needn't narrate dearest…I'm sitting right here. While Cyclops and Emma can assess the emergence of wild telepathic activity in relation to the time-placement of the coastal city, they can still communicate as a couple.
Similarly, the three mutant amigos converse more jovially and sincerely than they have in years. The visit to Russia has been an emotional strain on Colossus. Logan's tough love is immediately repudiated by Kurt's gentle sensitivity as Piotr tries to understand why he has lost so much. Is it being an X-Man or simply a mutant that cost him his family and love?
And the loss of that "love" is probably the moment when you'll drop the comic in stunned shock. One can only assume that more about this will be explained in other X-titles, but not here folks. So to avoid spoilers, you should consider reserving this comic until Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 comes out on April 9th.
But what do you do with a comic you can't read? Salivate over Mike Choi's art. His work isn't just perfect anatomically and thematically. It's sexy! As a guy, you can't help but feel the attraction toward any of his women -- especially Emma Frost! With her hair pulled back, her bare neck and shoulders reveal what Ovid referred to as fit to be squeezed. That attractiveness is displayed in each of the characters' body language and facial expressions. Coupled with dynamic perspectives, the artwork provides a good deal of subtext and emotion to Brubaker's dialogue. Although Uncanny X-Men continues to be a great series and deserves to be picked up, spoiler-haters should be cautious.
Final Word: Emma Frost… so pretty!
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