This current story arc continues to be nothing more than a pedestrian read. Brubaker is turning out a technically sound story; it just isn’t doing much for me. However, I certainly think that your average X-Men fan will probably enjoy this story arc. I have no doubts that Uncanny X-Men #484 will be another dependable read. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Penciler: Billy Tan
Inker: Danny Miki
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 begin with D’Ken informing Vulcan that Darwin’s fate is in Vulcan’s hands. That Vulcan can either kill him, make him his slave or turn him to their side.
We cut to the Asteroid H-12 in the Asteroid Archipelago. One Asteroid H-12 is a top secret prison faculty. Warpath and Korvus are on the asteroid with the mission of taking down the signal tower. While they take out the guards, Warpath tells Korvus that he doesn’t trust him. Warpath also says that Korvus barely knows Rachel so Warpath doesn’t believe that Korvus knows her as well as he claims he does.
We flashback to Korvus talking with Rachel. Rachel tells Korvus that their relationship is insane. That they have to stop their intense relationship. That they just met each other.
We cut back to the present with Warpath and Korvus taking out the rest of the guards and jamming any distress signals from the prison. Warpath then radios to the X-Men and the Starjammers that they are clear to land on the asteroid.
We shift to Korvus and Warpath attacking the main prison facility and taking out all of the guards. The X-Men and Starjammers arrive and help finish off the remaining guards. Lilandra makes her way to the prisoner that this prison was designed to hold.
During the fight, Rachel kills any Shi’ar guard she comes across. Night crawler tells her that there is no need for lethal force. Rachel responds that this is war and there has to be dying. Plus, the Shi’ar slaughtered her family.
We cut to Corsair and Lilandra arriving at the prisoner’s room. The prisoner is Major-General Ka’Ardum. He is the general who tried to dethrone Lilandra and failed. Lilandra had Ka’Ardum banished to this asteroid prison. Lilandra hopes that since he once commanded the entire Shi’ar Armada that he could bring huge military support to their cause.
Major-General Ka’Ardum was Lilandra’s father’s closest friend. However, Ka’Ardum was never friendly with Lilandra’s brother D’Ken. Lilandra asks for Ka’Ardum’s help in defeating D’Ken. That Lilandra is offering Ka’Ardum a chance to defend the Empire that he loves plus the chance to restore his lost honor. That when he turned against Lilandra and failed, that he shammed himself and his family. Now his Empress is asking him to be a soldier once more.
We cut to D’Ken’s men finally finding out that Lilandra and her forces have broken free Ka’Ardum from his asteroid prison. We then cut to the Starjammers’ base. The X-Men and Starjammers are partying up their victory today. This includes a table dance by the hot feline Starjammer chick. (Cause there ain’t no party like a Starjammers’ party.)
We shift to Polaris and Havok. Havok is in no mood to celebrate with Professor X still captive and Vulcan working for the other side. Polaris tells Havok that he needs to blow of some steam. And by that she means it is time for S-E-X. Polaris says that they may never see Earth again. She tells Havok to shut up and kiss her.
We cut to the High Council’s Armada. Vulcan is walking with Darwin who is still in his restraints. Darwin tells Vulcan that he is making a mistake by supporting D’Ken. Vulcan then responds that he wants Darwin to be his best man at his wedding with Warbird. That in three days he will be getting married and that Professor Xavier’s public execution will be the highlight of the wedding’s after-party.
The Good: Uncanny X-Men #484 was another average read. Brubaker certainly provides the reader with plenty of action. Even though I haven’t been impressed with the overall story arc that we have gotten, I have to admit that Brubaker has done a great job with three characters in particular.
The first being Warpath. It is obvious that Warpath is one of Brubaker’s favorites. I have always liked Warpath and am glad to see this character finally getting some love. Brubaker has a nice feel for Warpath’s character and is doing a great job fleshing out Warpath into a more interesting and well developed character.
Warpath certainly gives this team the ass-kicker “Wolverine” type character that ever super team needs. However, Warpath has a lot more to his personality than being a “Wolverine” type tough guy. I dig how in tune Warpath is to the environment and people around him. I’m excited to see how Brubaker handles the growth of Warpath’s character.
The other two characters that Brubaker is doing a good job with are Polaris and Havok. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for this couple. I like the two of them together and am glad that Brubaker is slowly working these two characters back together. They are a classic comic book couple and seeing them with anyone else other than each other just doesn’t feel right.
I like that Brubaker is actually giving Polaris a personality. Her character has always been rather bland since no writers have ever bothered to do much with her character. Brubaker is trying to give Polaris her own voice and identity. I like that Polaris is most direct and outspoken. I think that under Brubaker’s direction that Polaris could blossom into a great character.
Brubaker is also doing a wonderful job further fleshing out Havok’s character. Brubaker is showing us that Havok is much more than Cyclops Light. Havok certainly has the abilities to be a solid field commander for any X-Men team. And unlike Cyclops, Havok has a little more edge to his personality.
Tan’s artwork is solid. I’m not crazy about his style, but he puts together a better than average looking comic book. I absolutely love how Tan draws Havok and his energy powers.
The Bad: Brubaker delivers a technically well written comic book, but it completely lacks any life or emotion. Brubaker has completely failed to hook me with this story arc. And that is truly surprising for me. I am a huge Brubaker fan and love what he has done over on Captain America, Daredevil, Iron Fist and Criminal. However, Brubaker’s Uncanny X-Men has completely missed the mark with me. Brubaker’s Uncanny X-Men completely lacks the intensity, excitement and emotion that his other titles possess.
I found Uncanny X-Men #484, despite the action, to be a rather plodding read. This issue is a microcosm of the entire story arc. Slow, plodding and lifeless. Brubaker seems to just be going through the motions in delivering a space saga that has such a “been there and done that” recycled feel to it.
Even the dialogue feels stale. And that is a real stunner since I think Brubaker cranks out some of the best dialogue in the industry. The stiff and uninspired dialogue also contributes to the problem that there is a real lack of chemistry between any of the characters.
Maybe Uncanny X-Men just isn’t the type of title that suits Brubaker’s strengths. No matter how talented a writer is, there are just certain titles that don’t work with their skills. Just like I think Bendis shines on solo titles and struggles mightily on team titles, maybe Brubaker needs to stick with more realistic and urban based street heroes rather than star spanning adventurers like the X-Men.
Brubaker has failed to get me to care a bit about almost every single relationship and plotline. None of them capture my imagination. I could care less about Korvus and Rachel. I find both characters beyond boring. Rachel has never been an appealing character. I’d much prefer to get the real deal in Jean Grey rather than this cheap imitation. And Korvus lacks any substance or appeal that would make me care at all about his character or plotline.
I also find Lilandra to be a terribly tired character and nothing about her plotline ever remotely grabs my attention. The entire scene between Lilandra and the Major-General was completely dry and uninteresting. At this point, I wish that Lilandra would get killed and the X-Men could just move on and no longer have any relationship with the Shi’ar.
Brubaker has completely failed to develop Vulcan into a compelling and appealing character. And that is too bad since I do believe that Vulcan has plenty of potential. Unfortunately, Vulcan is still rather one-dimensional and lacks any type of unique personality.
Brubaker has also failed to get me to buy into Vulcan’s relationship with Warbird and D’Ken. It makes absolutely no sense to me at all. Vulcan’s entire existence is built upon the pain inflicted upon him by D’Ken and Vulcan’s entire purpose in life is to exact revenge on D’Ken and the Shi’ar. I just don’t see anyway possible that Vulcan would ever work with D’Ken.
And the Warbird and Vulcan relationship has been poorly developed and feels forced. Brubaker just smashed these two characters together without any real motivation or reason in order to make his story arc work.
Now, maybe Brubaker can redeem his use of Vulcan by having Vulcan using Warbird as a mere pawn to get close enough to D’Ken to turn on him when the time is right.
Overall: Uncanny X-Men #484 is just an average read. If you love the Shi’ar then you will certainly enjoy reading this story arc. I do think that the average X-Men fan who isn’t burned out on the Shi’ar and the Phoenix story lines will dig Brubaker’s story arc. It is technically well written and has better than average art. However, Uncanny X-Men fails to generate the same magic and excitement that Brubaker has created on Captain America and Daredevil.