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Uncanny X-Men #508

Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009
By: Christopher Power

Matt Fraction
Greg Land (p), Jay Leisten (i), Justin Ponsor (colors)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Uncanny X-Men #508 arrives in stores tomorrow, April 15.

Dull. This is the first time since Matt Fraction's run on Uncanny X-Men began that I have used that word. This month's issue is not bad necessarily, but it just feels somewhat slow and not much happens. What does happen to move the story forward is presented in a broken fashion that, I think, was intended to make the reader feel as if there was a broader universe in which the events were occurring. Unfortunately, while each story arc is written well, none of them seem to present enough information or enough length for the reader to really feel immersed in the universe. Just as I was engaged with a particular branch of Fraction's broader story, I would be shunted off into another scene in another part of the world. While I wanted to enjoy the book, the first time through I committed far more of my mental effort shifting gears than I did trying to take in the story.

The stories themselves have the potential to be interesting. For example, I am not sure what the Red Queen is doing, but it involves one of my favourite characters, and will finally allow me to get back to enjoying that character after she was destroyed in the last couple of years through misuse. I have no idea what she is doing on Earth-616 again (hint, hint), but I'm happy that Marvel has decided to let Fraction use her. Unfortunately, the three broken scenes involving the Red Queen left me scratching my head as to what the overall point is to her plan.

The subplot that really dragged is, once again, everything dealing with Angel. The movement of Angel back to his murderous Archangel form, and all of the angst surrounding it, is dragging down the pace of multiple books*. The Angel storyline is boring, and is tying up key characters such as Beast, whose story in trying to solve the mutant breeding problem should be much more compelling than it is right now.

Greg Land's art still does not really agree with my aesthetic preferences. I find the characters to be inconsistent in their presentation. In particular, Beast never seems to be the same height, with perspective being awkward in almost every panel. However, he does get kudos for a great visual on Domino in Japan.

I hope that with the big reveal at the end of the issue we will see the Red Queen's story really take off next month.

*Note, I am biased here. I came back to comics with Uncanny X-Men #338 when I saw Angel's wings return on the cover. I could not afford the book as I was a poor student, so my wife picked it up for me without my knowing. It is still one of my prize pieces of my collection. My one hope is that Fraction will link this story back to that issue where Angel's wings were returned to him as an ominous gift from Apocalypse's servant Ozymandias in a story that ultimately went nowhere.







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