The Revolution has been surprised at how average of a read Brubaker’s Uncanny X-Men has been. I am a huge Brubaker fan and love his stuff on Captain America, Iron Fist and Criminal. However, Brubaker has just been missing the mark on Uncanny X-Men.
Taking a talented big name writer and putting him on a title does not mean a quality read. Writers all have their strengths and weaknesses. Bendis does well on solo titles and not group titles. Maybe Brubaker excels with street level heroes and not with a team of galaxy spanning adventurers. Hopefully, Brubaker can turn things around with Uncanny X-Men #485. Let’s hit this review and find out.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Penciler: Billy Tan
Inker: Danny Miki
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with a video signal from Major-General Ka’Ardum asking for all Shi’ar soldiers to renounce D’Ken and to join Lilandra’s forces. We see Araki telling D’Ken that they have been unable to shut down this signal. Araki says that a third of their ranks have left to join Lilandra’s forces. D’Ken is not worried claiming they outnumber then two-to-one plus they also have the Imperial Guard.
We cut to the Starjammer’s ship where our heroes have decided to walk into the trap that D’Ken has set for them at Vulcan’s wedding with Deathbird where Professor X is going to be sacrificed. Corsair says that the wedding is being held at the M’Kraan Crystal which possesses a power that could wipe away existence if D’Ken gains control of it.
We shift to D’Ken telling Guardian that he has no desire to touch the M’Kraan Crystal ever again. That only one man will face those horrors: Professor Xavier.
We hop over to the jail cell where Darwin and Professor Xavier are being held. The Shi’ar soldiers enter and grab Professor X and drag him to the wedding ceremony.
We cut to the Starjammer’s ship where our heroes are watching a video feed of Vulcan and Deathbird’s wedding. The wedding concludes and D’Ken calls Vulcan his brother. The Starjammer’s ship and the rest of Lilandra’s armada then make their jump to the location of the wedding.
We shift to D’Ken praising the newly wedded royal couple. Suddenly, Lilandra’s armada appears over the wedding ceremony. D’Ken orders his armies and the Imperial Guard to attack. Vulcan cries out that this is happening too soon. That they haven’t made Professor Xavier pay yet. The Starjammers, X-Men and Lilandra’s soldiers begin battling D’Ken’s soldiers and the Imperial Guard.
Nightcrawler teleports over to Professor X. However, Vulcan blasts Nighcrawler and then grabs Professor X. Vulcan then says that Professor X is going to get what he deserves.
We see Gladiator mowing his way through the X-Men and then capturing Lilandra. We then cut back to Vulcan casting Professor X into the M’Kraan Crystal. Lilandra screams “Noooo!” Corsair wonders what sort of monster did they turn his boy into.
Darwin then jumps into the M’Kraan Crystal to try and help Professor X. Vulcan calls Darwin an idiot for sacrificing his life and that he won’t survive the M’Kraan Crystal.
Gladiator gives Lilandra to D’Ken who asks if he should kill Lilandra now or let her live to see his victory in this battle. Vulcan then comments that this is his victory. Vulcan calls D’Ken a “Mother-killing bastard.” Vulcan then blasts D’Ken. Vulcan fries D’Ken until there is nothing more than a skeleton left.
Deathbird tells Vulcan that she trusted him. Vulcan answers that he heard Deathbird’s wishes and respected them. That Deathbird didn’t want to rule. Now that they are married, she won’t have to rule.
Vulcan reaches down and takes the crown from D’Ken’s skull and places it on his head. Vulcan says that he claims D’Ken’s throne as his own. By right of blood and combat. By right of succession. That he is Emperor Vulcan of the Shi’ar Imperium. End of issue.
The Good: Finally, Brubaker delivers! Uncanny X-Men #485 was a good read. Certainly the best read so far on Brubaker’s run on this title. Uncanny X-Men #485 was well paced. It move along briskly and creates plenty of tension in the reader as we raced to the wild finish.
The dialogue was solid. It wasn’t as good as what Brubaker normally cranks out, but it was still better than average. And this issue wasn’t a real dialogue heavy issue that dealt with character development. This issue was all about massive brawling. We definitely got plenty of action. And Brubaker certainly made Gladiator look like a bad-ass. Gladiator pretty much shook off everything the Starjammers and the X-Men could throw at him.
Brubaker also shows that he knows how to properly plot a story arc. Brubaker brings everything together in the final scene of this issue and sets the stage for what should be an exciting finish.
The final scene was fantastic. You had Professor Xavier being thrown into the Crystal. We then had Darwin jump into the Crystal after Professor X. We also have Lilandra’s forces loosing the battle and Lilandra herself getting captured. But, the biggest bomb of all was Vulcan killing D’Ken and using his marriage with Deathbird to assume the throne of the Shi’ar Empire. Now that is how you pull off a heart pounding and exciting finish to a comic book.
Glad to see Vulcan finally making sense. I simply wasn’t buying his new attitude and change of personality in the past couple of issues. It didn’t work for me that Vulcan would so drastically change after hooking up with Deathbird. I’m glad to see that Brubaker was just having Vulcan play possum and biding his time for the perfect moment to make his move.
I dig the daring move that Vulcan makes by taking Deathbird’s own words about not wanting to rule and using it to justify him killing her brother and taking the crown. And, evidently, Deathbird digs Vulcan’s attitude because she seems perfectly fine with Vulcan’s bold move.
The M’Kraan Crystal is interesting. I have never heard of it so if we have seen it before on this title then it must have been when I took a break from the X-Men. We know that Professor Xavier isn’t going to die. My guess is that Darwin’s ability to adapt to any threat will enable him to free Professor X from the Crystal.
I’m going to guess that Darwin will sacrifice his own life in order to save Professor X. And I think there might be a good chance that Professor X’s exposure to the Crystal may give him his mutant powers back. After all, a powerless Professor X isn’t all that interesting.
Billy Tan proves plenty of quality artwork. Tan isn’t my favorite artist, but he is talented and can put together a good looking issue.
The Bad: No complaints with this issue.
Overall: I’m glad that Brubaker finally showed some of his magic with X-Men #485. The intensity of this story arc has definitely been cranked up several notches. I’m actually looking forward to the next issue. I think Brubaker has a pretty wild ending in store for us.