Last issue of Uncanny X-Men was a bit of a disappointment and was certainly the weakest issue of Brubaker’s run on this title. However, I have faith in Brubaker that he simply won’t turn out back to back average reads. It appears that Uncanny X-Men #480 focuses on Vulcan and his attack on the Shi’ar. Should be interesting. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Penciler: Clayton Henry
Inker: Mark Morales
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We start with Vulcan laying waste to the Imperial Guard. Vulcan kills several members as Brubaker does his best Geoff Johns impersonation by wasting several C and D-list characters. After Vulcan finishes killing several members of the Imperial Guard, Gladiator finally is able to take down Vulcan. On of the Imperial Guard, Oracle, performs a mental scan on Vulcan and discovers that he is the son of Corsair. Gladiator prepares to inform the Vice-Chancellor that the X-Men may be arriving soon.
We shift to the Shi’ar who taught Vulcan all about the Shi’ar. He is talking to the Vice-Chancellor. The Vice-Chancellor says that he knows just the cell to place an earther who is that powerful and obsessed with the great D’Ken. Vice-Chancellor hopes that this will lead to the true Shi’ar Empire rising once again.
We cut to a Shi’ar prison where Vulcan is lying in his cell. He is wearing a power dampener that keeps his mutant abilities in check. Vulcan hallucinates a child version of himself that castigates him and talks about how pathetic Vulcan is acting.
Vulcan passes back out. When he wakes up he sees a Shi’ar enter his cell and de-activate Vulcan’s power dampener. The Shi’ar says that he serves the Secret Order whose objective is to re-establish the true Empire. He tells Vulcan that there are those who know of the wrong done to Vulcan. The Shi’ar tells Vulcan that his path lies two levels down. Suddenly, two prison guards arrive and kill Vulcan’s liberator. Vulcan then fries the two prison guards to death.
Vulcan then goes down two levels and arrives at a door guarded by two soldiers. Vulcan quickly dispatches of the two guards. Vulcan then blasts open the door and tells the occupant to come out. Out steps Deathbird. End of issue.
The Good: Uncanny X-Men #480 was a better than average read, but it wasn’t anything incredible. Maybe it is just me, but I am just burned out on the Shi’ar. They were cool back when Chris Claremont was doing his original run on the X-Men. But, I’m just pretty much sick and tired of any plotlines related to the Shi’ar. I feel like we have seen this too many times before.
Uncanny X-Men #480 spends some much needed time on Vulcan and what he has been up to lately. Brubaker delivers a well plotted story that moves along at a deliberate pace. As always, the dialogue is well written. Brubaker is doing his best to try and flesh out Vulcan, however, his character still seems a bit too flat and one-dimensional to me.
The fight scene between the Imperial Guard and Vulcan was pretty wicked. It served the purpose of demonstrating to the reader how insanely powerful Vulcan is and how he has no qualms killing absolutely anyone who gets in his way.
Brubaker is a master at suspense and at weaving a mystery where the reader has no idea what is going to happen next. What I like so much about Brubaker’s stories is that he never rushes the payoff. He has no problem slowly developing a story at a natural pace and keeping the reader guessing. The first twist we got is the revelation that the Vice-Chancellor is plotting to overthrow Lilandra and re-establish the true Empire. A little political intrigue and scheming behind closed doors always makes for an interesting story.
After that little twist, Brubaker goes ahead and drops a big bomb on the reader with the end of the issue when Vulcan frees Deathbird. I’m sure tons of X-Men fans geeked out over this scene. However, since I’m just over the Shi’ar in general, I wasn’t as excited as your average fan. At any rate, Deathbird is a volatile addition to the story arc. I cannot imagine a more frighteningly powerful and mentally unstable duo than Deathbird and Vulcan. This pair should provide some serious entertainment in the upcoming issues.
Clayton Henry and Mark Morales are a nice team and provide this issue with some solid artwork. I actually like Henry and Morales just as much as I like the regular art team of Tan and Miki. That is rare. Usually, I don’t dig guest artists.
The Bad: Like I said before, I’m just not that into the Shi’ar. When it comes to the X-Men there are several plotlines that no longer hold much interest for me. Those include the Shi’ar, the Phoenix and Days of Future Past. I don’t care if we never see those plotlines again.
Not a lot really happened in Uncanny X-Men #480. The big fight took up a huge portion of the issue and then we had the jail scene and then the surprise ending. With the exception of the ending, this issue seemed to lack any real substance. This issue was very close to reading like a filler issue.
Overall: Uncanny X-Men #480 was a well written issue. I liked it, but just felt like something was missing. I can’t put my finger on it so I’m going to chalk it up to me just being burned out on the Shi’ar. I like what Brubaker is doing with this title and if you still dig the Shi’ar then you will definitely enjoy this issue.