I guess I got stuck with the penultimate assignments this week. Uncanny X-Men is a book that continues to struggle with consistency, as month in and month out readers are overwhelmed with the immensity of the roster, the staleness of Greg Land’s artwork and the overall failure to capitalize on a well-written, underrated Second Coming. Instead, that event served no more than a reason to release an array of new titles and off-shoots—Uncanny X-Force and Generation Hope being a couple of them.
With that said, there’s no denying Uncanny X-Men has indeed been a more focused title with its recent “Quarantine” arc, featuring an evil Professor X-like villain, Lobe, who pushes a group of ambitious youngsters, under the Sublime corporation, who’ll stop at nothing to emulate — and destroy — their heroes with a surplus of expensive, mutant enhancements.
On the other end of the spectrum, the long, drawn-out subplot pairing Sebastian Shaw with former White Queen-at-arms, Emma Frost, has failed to amass the same gratifying result. With Kevin Bacon taking over Shaw in Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class this summer, writers should make it a chore to conjure more appeal than Shaw’s current, one-note lug.
Despite the jagged uniformity of this brooding issue, there appears to be good news on the way. In last month’s Previews, the team of current co-writer Kieron Gillen, whom should produce sharper focus for the series, and, past Uncanny penciling extraordinaire, Terry Dodson, will take over the book. Many have wished the already-busy Matt Fraction (Invincible Iron Man, Thor, the forthcoming Fear Itself event) off the book for some time now, and even more have pleaded for Land to just go away. Though, it must be noted that Land’s storytelling ability has improved several notches. If the artist only eliminated those strange porn model traces, he’d better off… or, perhaps, non-existent.
Time to trim this roster down to the level of the cartoon.