Saturday, March 27, 2010

Uncanny X-Men #522 Review

Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Whilce Portacio
This issue we get a break from Land's porno pencils and Dodson's boring, anime crap. Instead we get Whilce Portacio who's a bit of an odd choice. He wasn't bad, but he wasn't impressive either.

This issue is the one Kitty Pryde fans have been petitioning their little hearts out for since Giant Size Astonishing two years ago: The return of Shadowcat. Done by Matt Fraction. A character who could have stayed away longer than Jean, and I wouldn't have missed. Done by a writer who could go off the radar for the same amount of time. Except I've already planned out a fucking rager for the day Fraction leaves the X-Verse.

Anyway, if you tune out for the first four pages of this issue, don't feel bad, you didn't miss anything you didn't already read last issue. Yes, that's four pages of pure review, so thrilled we're not wasting page time because comic books take SO long to read.

Afterwards, Angel and Nightcrawler show up to alert Emma and Scott to Kitty's homecoming. And here's where I have to diss Portacio's art. Because Angel gets total raper face when he's delivering the news and it even though it made me laugh, it also made me feel uncomfortable for Scott. Especially since he's already with Wolverine.

Scott immediately gets into gear as soon as he gets back to Utopia, dramatizing this homecoming as much as fucking possible. It went from a multitude of options to Scott telling everyone, "The bullet's either phased with an alive Kitty in it or WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!" And so the Marvel universe obeyed his command. Except one person, Box, who dared to speak up.

I understand whatever the shit he was saying was meant to sound ridiculous. Except it wasn't considering how science is treated by Fraction, more on that in a few. And anyway, it's funny how Scott is constantly shutting anyone who speaks against his idealistic plans with logic. This is because Fraction's Uncanny X-Men is the story of one man's ego, and the entire universe bending to serve it.

Meanwhile, Scott ordered everyone to shield the bullet from every instrument's perception rather than work on its safe re-entry. How this is done is by some huge machine that's hooked up to the Cuckoos, with them sending psychic illusions worldwide, which Danger translates to send her own through machine communication, and Box made this all up and the "science" behind it is so idealized. Science, in this series, is really just magic considering the series has a machine made up for any problem the second it occurs. But magic would seem to out there, so we'll just tack on science instead. Plus, there's probably something about magic being too feminine, and this series takes the whole sexism in comics up a notch (if you REALLY want to hear why I think that, I could make the War and Peace of posts on this).

Continuing, Emma's monitoring Magneto, and all the while this is going on says the dumbest thing. Now, here's the thing, were this any other Magneto appearance she would be completely correct in saying this. Except since his re-introduction, Magneto has been perpetually with his tail between his legs. He has seemed so ridiculously insecure, fragile, and just a confused old man.

At some point in here, the great Reed Richards makes a point of contacting the X-Men concerning the bullet that his powerful instruments can still perceive. I read somewhere that someone thought this portrayal of Reed was absolutely prickly. I beg to differ, in this instant he's treating the X-Men exactly how they need to be. He comes off like the necessary stern father responding to his teenager's idealistic plans that could harm people's lives and have no bearing in logic.

So anyway, the bullets coming, Cecilia Reyes shows up to care for Magneto. Which is code for cameo queen. See, this series really just pulls out much-missed X-Men back into the X-World to essentially put something shiny and fun in front of the readers so that they'll miss how poor the writing actually is. After their initial introduction, all these characters are used to fill the background unless another writer finds a use for them (like Carey and Yost did for Psylocke).

By the way, the almighty bullet that comes is drawn to be maybe 1/5 the size of the original depiction of the bullet. Seriously, a bullet that size would have NEVER cracked Earth. Which was the intention. Anyway, the bullet comes, Kitty's pulled out, and the bullet is sent to..... Yeah. Where was this gigantic bullet put after all was said and done? Anyone? But back onto Kitty, apparently she's trapped in phase mode. Which is NOT a problem we haven't already dealt with (especially NOT during the Mutant Massacre) in X-Pages and dealt away with (especially NOT in X-Men vs. Fantastic Four). So considering we've NEVER seen this before, this needs to be a poor side story that's dragged out for the next year. Oh. And one other thing. Kitty's totally mute. She has become THE ULTIMATE CAMEO QUEEN! Like Jesus Christ, she has ascended to the seat of the right hand of the Father (or the Mother, who is Dazzler, obvs)! Now she is truly the perfect cameo queen! And concerning Fraction's Frat Boy of an X-Universe, the perfect woman!

At the end of this issue, everyone peaces to go enjoy life, Kitty gets put into the Lazarus from Casper, and Cyclops sits alone for some mangst-y reason. Except there's a few things wrong with these last few pages. And by wrong, I mean making no sense in a sane world. First is Fantomex giving Betsy flowers. No. I'm not even going to explain why this pairing would be disastrous. I'll just say it'll make about as much sense as Siryn and Deadpool. And Emma goes out somewhere in the sea with Namor. Which is half a confirmation for my fears of Emma hopping from one manchild to another. Why can't the woman take a break from playing sholder whore to the world's whiniest? Then there's Dazzler and Northstar cameo queening it out for a panel. Remember that shot Fraction seemed to make at Austen's use of Northstar as the gay mascot in #508? Yeah. Fraction's use of Northstar is pretty much on par, if not worse, than Austen's. But anyway, that's the issue!

Except there's also some weird backstory about the alien folks who would have died had the bullet kept going on its path. And there's something like gay aliens going on, which don't get me wrong I'm a homo who loves homo characters, but it just felt like they needed to be gay to make that story even mildly bearable. At least I think they were gay. Whatever, in the end, I say buy this issue if you have a mother named Diva Bonanza. And if for SOME weird reason one of you actually does, go out, buy that issue, and then come see me. I would LOVE to meet your mother.


FSaker said...

Kitty is totally mute? It seems Fraction did something right, after all...

Hey, am I wrong or is Fantomex using E.V.A. to carry the flowers to Betsy? If Fantomex ever joins the X-Men ranks (and I guess he will, since nowadays Fraction is bringing EVERYONE to live with the X-Men in Utopia), E.V.A. has good chances of becoming the next Cameo Queen, don't you agree?

Speaking of cameo queens, what are the chances that Dr. CeCe Reyes will ever cameo again in Fraction's run? Glad to see the woman back, but we'll probably never read an explanation to how she went to Utopia or why the X-Men aren't surprised that a former teammate who went missing for a long time, and whose name Beast should have read in the Neverland files as one of the possibly executed mutants, is suddenly living among them again...

Anyway, thanks for your review, it was a great read as always!

Mr. Hellfire said...

Mmm, I know, but hopefully when she speaks again, Emma will be reverted to bitch mode.

Oh yeah, haha, I noticed that, just didn't know if it was worth commenting on though. And oh yeah, EVA is prime cameo queen material. Which is too bad because I'd like to read more of her, she was awesome in HCT.

I bet she will, just because Fraction's run gets a boost from the cameo queen thrill. And her being cameo, we'll never hear anything about what's happened to her until someone else chooses to use her.

And no problemo, I had fun making it:)