Uncanny X-Men has been a much improved read under the direction of Ed Brubaker. However, I don’t think that Brubaker’s X-Men is as good as Brubaker’s Daredevil or Captain America. Plus, this current story arc has begun to drag just a little. Can Brubaker kick this story arc up a few notches with Uncanny X-Men #479? Let’s find out.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Penciler: Billy Tan
Inkers: Danny Miki & Allen Martinez
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
We cut to the X-Men weeks later still traveling through space. Warpath is about to go nuts if he doesn’t get his feet back on soil. Warpath misses the smell of grass and the wind. On the other hand, Nightcrawler could stare at the beauty of deep space forever.
We shift to Rachel and Professor X arguing. Rachel tells Professor X that he is working on her too much. That it seems that he is always trying to get her to psychically link up with him. Professor X apologizes and then starts to leave the room. Rachel then apologizes for being grumpy. She tells Xavier that her Phoenix brand on her back is getting hot. Rachel says that the Shi’ar know that she is in their territory and they are tracking her.
We then see Korvus’ ship approaching the X-Men’s ship. Korvus docks inside the loading bay of the X-Men’s ship. We see Warpath talking to Darwin when the ship’s alarms suddenly alert that there is a security breach in the docking bay. Warpath tells Darwin to watch the Shi’ar that they stole this ship from while he goes and deals with the intruder.
Warpath is joined by Nightcrawler, Polaris and Havok. They all arrive at the loading bay and lock horns with Korvus. Korvus manages to easily defeat Warpath, Nightcrawler, Polaris and Havok with his trust Blade of the Phoenix.
We cut to the Shi’ar crew approaching Professor X. They pull a laser on him and tell him that Charles Xavier is under arrest since he is a traitor to the Shi’ar Empire. We then shift to Korvus crossing paths with Rachel. Korvus apologizes to Rachel for what he must do. Korvus swings the Blade of the Phoenix at Rachel and she catches it with her hands. Suddenly, Korvus and Rachel share their memories with each other through the sword.
They then let go. Korvus notices that the sword is weakened. That Rachel took back some of the power. Rachel then disarms and removes the implant in Korvus’ head that the Shi’ar Empire placed inside of him to control him. Korvus is stunned that Rachel would save him.
Suddenly, Korvus notices that his space ship just took off from the loading bay. Those sneaky Shi’ar crewmembers took Professor Xavier along with them and are heading back to the throne world of the Shi’ar Empire. We see Darwin holding on to the end of the space ship. End of issue.
The Good: Uncanny X-Men #479 was just an average read. As always, Brubaker crafts some fine dialogue. There is plenty of chemistry between the X-Men and Brubaker always delivers well developed characters.
I liked the scene between Rachel and Professor X. It is refreshing that Brubaker portrays Professor X in an unusually unkind and unimpressive light. Professor X clearly misses his mutant powers as is evident in his constant pressuring of Rachel to sync up with him. Without his mutant powers, Professor X comes across like a sad old man who has outlived his usefulness. This is an interesting take on his character and one that I never thought I would see. I am enjoying seeing Professor X like this. He has always been so in control with almost unquestionable authority over the X-Men. This humbling experience should be good for Professor X and make him a more well-rounded character.
I love Warpath. The more Warpath the better. I dig how Brubaker is fleshing out Warpath’s character. Warpath has always had potential and I think that Brubaker is going to be able to establish Warpath as a major player in the X-Men universe. New is good. I’m glad that Brubaker is taking a character that has not been used much before and is expanding their personality and role in the X-Men universe. This is much cooler than just giving us more Wolverine. I think we get enough of him on the numerous titles that he dominates.
I also dig Darwin. I hope that with him tagging along with the Shi’ar who captured Professor X will lead to Darwin finally getting some action.
I thought that Brubaker delivered a good ending. Having Korvus switch over to the X-Men’s side was unexpected. And then having the Shi’ar arrest the traitor Professor X and then steal Korvus’ ship was a great ending. That is a good hook that makes the reader want to buy the next issue.
I like Billy Tan’s art. However, I don’t really dig Danny Miki’s inking. I wish Marvel would put another inker on this title. Miki’s inks just don’t do Tan’s dynamic art any justice.
The Bad: Is it just me or is anyone else totally over the Phoenix and any plotlines involving it like Professor X’s relationship with Lilandra and the Shi’ar? I am so sick and tired of any plotline involving the Phoenix in any shape or form. The Jean Grey/Phoenix story was a stroke of genius by Chris Claremont. When first done, it was compelling reading. Absolutely fantastic. However, it has turned into a Frankenstein’s monster with a life of its own ever since. Writers have continually returned to the Phoenix storyline like a moth to a light bulb. The Phoenix storyline has got to be the most over-used, worn out and tired storyline in all of Marvel Comics.
To say that Marvel is beating a dead horse each time they trot out another Phoenix storyline is an understatement. It is more like making glue from a dead horse. I wish that Marvel would put the Phoenix and all related stories and character to rest. What was once one of the coolest stories is now the most played out and over used plot lines.
You can dress up this old tired plotline as many different ways as possible. Rachel Grey instead of Jean Grey. The Blade of the Phoenix. Whatever. It is still the same thing. For the love of god, come up with something new and different! That is what Claremont was doing when he first created the Phoenix. Instead of re-hashing the same tired old storyline, create a new one!
I know that Brubaker likes to lay a solid foundation for his stories and will deliberately move at a slow pace at times in order to get everything in place for a big exciting finish. However, this is too slow. There is no need that this far into this story arc, we are still getting issues that are this slow and uneventful. Uncanny X-Men #479 was a slow and boring issue. Nothing happened up until the very last page of this issue. We got more babble about the Phoenix. We got pointless babble between the members of the X-Men. We then got a one-sided fight between Korvus and the X-Men. Then more boring Phoenix re-hashing between Rachel and Korvus.
This was such an uneventful and uninteresting issue. Except for the final page, Uncanny X-Men read like a filler issue. This story has seemed to stall and is stuck in neutral at the moment. I really expect more from Brubaker than this.
Overall: Uncanny X-Men #479 was Brubaker’s weakest issue so far. However, the ending was well done and should provide for a very exciting issue next month. I still have faith in Brubaker and Tan to deliver a quality product on this title. Regardless, Brubaker’s Uncanny X-Men is still the best this title has been in a long time.