Uncanny X-Men #508

21st April 2009 | by | No Comments

With his introspective character arc completed, Matt Fraction returns to the style of “SFX”, moving several plot threads forward in addition to the highlighted “Sisterhood” strand. Despite the hype behind Madelyne Pryor’s major strike, the Sisterhood of Mutants appear to be taking a rather indirect approach, with a grab & snatch raid in Tokyo being followed by plotting behind closed doors in San Francisco. Meanwhile, the “X Club” plotline continues to trundle along, and Fraction’s determination to compile the largest X-roster imaginable continues. One of the joys of such a long-running team book is seeing each new writer dusting off their favourites, but Fraction seems to be so busy collecting X-Men that he has little time to actually do anything with them. Here, Northstar threatens to join Dazzler as making a loud comeback, but without any actual plan for the character. Fraction does admittedly have a more secure hand on his villains, with each member of the Sisterhood already displaying a distinct manner of relating to her colleagues. Hopefully the explanation for Pryor’s reappearance will come sooner rather than later- the character was last seen being ripped apart by Warren Ellis about a decade ago, and a bit of backstory would be welcome.

Strike a pose! Greg Land’s back on art duties. Most reviewers diplomatically despite the penciler’s work as “controversial”, but the schism between readers appears to really break down into those affronted by his constant photo referencing and those who don’t see the problem. At Comics Daily, we tend to fall into the former camp. The problem is that his work feels too static and forced as a result of its compilation from so many sources. To be fair to the man, this is his strongest art for the book to date, with a density of background that’s sometimes reminiscent of Chris Bachello. His stylistic tics, however, continue to irritate. Given his insistence on having every character grinning, he’s curiously reluctant to actually draw any teeth, with everyone appearing to sport white gum shields throughout.

All in all, it seems to be business as usual for Fraction’s Uncanny, with the dazzling delivery of a somewhat average plot. The returning of Psylocke to her original body is unexpected, but rather pointless, as the character could have been revitalised just as easily by discarding the Jim Lee costume in favour of something more practical. It’s a solid book, but the absence of the solicited Simon Trask story is keenly felt.