Brubaker’s X-Men hasn’t been a bad read. But, it certainly has not lived up to The Revolution’s high expectations when I first heard that Brubaker would be taking over this title. I have been so impressed with Brubaker’s work on Daredevil, Captain America, Iron Fist and Criminal.
However, Brubaker’s Uncanny X-Men has simply been missing that magic that makes Brubaker’s other titles such a joy to read. I don’t know what exactly it is, but Uncanny X-Men has just come across as a decidedly average comic book. Maybe Uncanny X-Men #487 with this new story arc will manage to capture my interest. Let’s do this review and find out.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Erg, Litterbug and Bliss setting some explosives in the underground of New York City. They mention how the explosives won’t kill their targets since the prophecy says that both of their targets have got a part to play.
We then see Caliban and Leech walking in the underground. Caliban says that the ex-mutants who were Morlocks have once again fled to their old home to hide. Suddenly, the explosives go off and take down Caliban. Bliss then grabs Leech and knocks him out and walks off with him.
Masque then approaches Caliban and tells Caliban that it should be interesting to see how strong Masque’s powers are these days. Caliban says that Masque and he are friends. Masque says that they are no longer friends. And they will never be friends again.
We zip to the next day at the Xavier Institute. Nightcrawler and Xavier debate whether Xavier is ready to use Cerebra so soon after getting his telepathic powers back. Xavier says that he was without his powers for so long that he forgot how hard it is to try and not inadvertently overhear people’s thoughts. That today he overhead that Magneto is alive and that Valerie Cooper and the ONE are trying to help SHIELD locate him.
Nightcrawler is stunned that Valerie Cooper would let this though out around Xavier. Xavier responds that she only thought about Magneto’s name for a split second. That Xavier had to dig for the rest. Nightcrawler is disappointed in Xavier’s actions. Xavier retorts that they doesn’t want to see Magneto in the hands of ONE and SHIELD. Or what happens when SHIELD tires to capture him. That for everyone’s sake, it needs to be mutants who find Magneto.
Xavier hooks into Cerebra and tells Nightcrawler that he has found something else. Xavier tells Nightcrawler to have Beast prepare the medical Bay and to find Warpath and tell him that someone is looking for him.
We cut to the woods on the Xavier Institute’s grounds. Hepzibah and Warpath are spending time together. Hepzibah says that there is nothing left for her back at Shi’ar Space except death. That she is tired of seeking revenge. It buys nothing but blood.
We then see an EVA rip-off Sentinel detecting something moving toward the Xavier Institute at a very high rate of speed. The Sentinel detects that it is a mutant. The Sentinel is about to fire on the incoming mutant when Warpath knocks the Sentinel’s hand away and tells it that the mutant is a friend. We see Caliban on the ground. Warpath holds him.
The Sentinel is then ordered to take Caliban into custody. Warpath pulls out his knives and squares off against the Sentinel. Nightcrawler appears right as Storm makes her appearance. Storm tells the Sentinel to back off. That Caliban is under her protection. That she is the Queen of Wakanda and that ONE doesn’t want a diplomatic incident.
We cut to Val Cooper in Xavier’s office. Xavier tells Val that anything he learns from Caliban will be passed on to ONE.
We shift to Xavier arriving at the medical bay where Beast is treating Caliban. Hepzibah, Warpath, Nightcrawler and Storm are also present. Xavier reveals that Cerebra detected Caliban and Xavier saw the Morlocks and the one called Masque. That Masque’s secondary mutation was stronger than anyone realized. That is why Xavier called Storm.
Xavier says that the Morlocks are up to something. That they need to find out what it is and stop them. That they need someone they fear who they will listen to. Storm replies that the Morlocks have not listened to her in a long time. But, she will still try her best.
We cut to New York City. Bliss places a dampener around Leech’s neck. Masque says that they need to make Leech understand and see the large task at hand. Masque says that he understand the words of the prophet and that he isn’t going to wait for the future. He is going to make it happen his way. That the next thing they need to do is find Magneto and make Leech makes sure that Magneto doesn’t kill all of them before they tell Magneto that there is still hope for mutantkind to rule the world.
The Good: Uncanny X-Men #487 was a solid issue. Brubaker delivers this issue in his usual steady and measured pace that he employs whenever he kicks off a new story arc. I never worry about the plotting when Brubaker is writing the story arc. Brubaker posses excellent long term vision and knows how to construct a complex and well developed story arc.
Brubaker also treats us to his usual well crafted dialogue. Each character has their own personality as Brubaker shows he has a nice feel for the different characters. The dialogue has a good flow and makes this issue a nice read.
Brubaker continues his commitment to solid character development. And that is of no surprise. Brubaker has always built his stories around excellent character work. I like the chemistry that Brubaker is managing to finally get out of these characters. I think this is something that has been lacking on a good portion of Brubaker’s run on Uncanny X-Men.
I like the combination of Warpath and Hepzibah. These two characters really compliment each other. They both are in tune with nature, but aren’t duplicates of each other’s personalities. I think that it is only a matter of time before these two start knocking boots.
Warpath is easily my favorite character on this roster assembled by Brubaker. I’m glad that Brubaker continues to give Warpath plenty of panel time. It is nice to see Warpath finally developing a unique personality with some depth to it.
It is fantastic to see Storm back where she belongs. Storm is an X-Man and her home is here at the Xavier Institute. I hate the horribly forced marriage between Storm and Black Panther. I can only hope that a giant boulder falls on Black Panther and kills him or that Storm wises up and retains the legal services of Matt Murdock and files for divorce from Black Panther.
I dig the new edge that Brubaker has given Professor Xavier. The Marvel Universe is much different than it used to be. With the aftermath of M-Day, the ONE Sentinels “guarding” the Xavier Institute and the Registration Act, this is a new Marvel Universe where new tactics must be employed in order for mutants to survive.
I like that Xavier recognizes this shift and realizes that he can no longer operate like he used to. That sometimes Xavier will have to invade people’s personal thoughts for the greater good of mutantkind.
I’m actually psyched that Magneto’s status is finally being addressed. The readers got a much deserved break from Magneto’s character while Marvel let him sit in limbo. However, it is time to address the situation concerning the X-Men’s greatest villain. I’m curious to see how Brubaker handles Magneto’s character. This should be a rather interesting storyline.
Salvador Larocca supplies plenty of beautiful artwork. I love Larocca’s heavy painted style of art. I know that this isn’t going to appeal to some people, but I’m thrilled to see Larocca handling the art duties on this title.
The Bad: I have never been a real big fan of the Morlocks, so I can’t say I’m excited to see them in this issue. The Morlocks were never a concept that really appealed to me. I find most of their characters to be rather lame. And a Morlock related storyline evokes the same feelings in me as the Shi’Ar story arc that we just finished up. It has such a re-tread and unoriginal feel to it.
Of course, maybe Brubaker has a new twist that he can put on the Morlocks to make this a really fresh and interesting storyline. I certainly hope so. Maybe Brubaker has a surprise up his sleeve with the prophecy that Masque keeps talking about.
Overall: Uncanny X-Men #487 was a slightly better than average read. Of course, it is typical Brubaker to begin a new story arc in an understated fashion and really take his time constructing the story. I still don’t think that Brubaker has been able to generate the type of magic on Uncanny X-Men that he is able to create over on the other titles that he writes.