The Revolution hasn’t been all that impressed with Brubaker’s work on Uncanny X-Men. The story on this title certainly is not on the same level as the absolute gems that Brubaker delivers each and every month on Daredevil, Iron Fist, Captain America and Criminal.
So far, Brubaker has given us a rather stale feeling with his recycling of tired plotlines. First it was Lilandra and the Shi’ar. Now it is the Morlocks. What is next? The Brood and Dark Phoenix? I know those plotlines haven’t been totally beaten to death.
Anyway, hopefully, Brubaker can begin to work his usual magic with Uncanny X-Men #488. I hope that Brubaker has something interesting and fresh in store for us with this “prophecy” that was teased with the last issue. Let’s do ahead and do this review for Uncanny X-Men #488.
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 Masque using some venom from Litterbug and placing it within a small device. Bliss reminds Masque to stick to the Scripture and that what he did to Caliban was unnecessary. Masque responds that Caliban served his purpose and that is why he is still alive.
We cut to Warpath, Storm, Hepzibah and Caliban in an alley way. Then enter the sewers and begin their search for the Morlocks. Warpath tells the other X-Men that he smells alligators and for everyone to be careful.
We shift to the Xavier Institute. Val Cooper is angry that Professor X by not only refusing to turn Caliban over to ONE, but then letting Caliban leave the Xavier Institute’s grounds. Professor X says that Storm felt Caliban’s condition required a second opinion at the Baxter Building. Val says that she knows the Professor is lying. Val then orders up a ONE field team for a recon mission to find Caliban.
We zip back to Warpath battling with a huge alligator. Warpath takes the alligator out. Our heroes then make their way to the Morlock’s home. It is empty like a tomb. Hepzibah then notices some strange writing all over the walls. Caliban says that this room belonged to a shy woman and he can’t remember her name. Storm says that if she is reading the writing correctly, that all four of their names are written on the wall.
We shift to Professor X and Nightcrawler taking off in the Blackbird. Nightcrawler tells Professor X that he is courting conflict with ONE. Xavier says that maybe he is. That maybe it is time that they stop allowing ONE to monitor them. That ONE’s agenda doesn’t align with the X-Men’s agenda. Xavier says that Magneto is out there somewhere and that the two of them are going to find him. That they will begin searching in the places he has been spotted and look for Magneto the old-fashioned way. By Xavier secretly probing the minds of everyone in the general vicinity.
We hop back to Storm telling the others that whoever wrote this writing was predicting the future. Storm says that this is a future that she would not want to come to pass.
We zip to Skids planting a backpack on a subway train in New York City. Skids then exits the train and pushes a button causing the backpack to explode. A poisonous gas then fills the subway train. Erg then blasts the train causing it to come to a crashing halt.
Masque then enters the subway train. Masque says that it is his turn to send a message. That he is going to show these pretty people what it feels like to be a mutant in this world. Masque begins to disfigure the faces of the passed out passengers on the subway train. End of story.
We then get an Endangered Species back-up story. The Beast is making his way up Wundagore Mountain. Evidently, all the criminals turned down Beast’s offer that he made them in the opening installment of this storyline. Beast makes his way to the top of Wundagore Mountain and is blocked by High Evolutionary’s animal/human hybrid guards. They tell Beast that he just doesn’t know when to quit. End of issue.
The Good: Uncanny X-Men #488 was an average read. It was nothing great, but certainly nothing terrible. I found Uncanny X-Men #488 to be terribly slow. I am familiar with Brubaker’s style and I know that he enjoys employing a measured pace of storytelling. However, Uncanny X-Men #488 was even too slowly paced for a Brubaker issue.
Brubaker’s dialogue was just average at best. The dialogue on Uncanny X-Men is most certainly not anywhere near as good as the excellent dialogue that Brubaker crafts over on Iron Fist, Daredevil, Captain America and The Criminal. This is probably due to the fact that Brubaker is a bit out of his element on Uncanny X-Men. There is no doubt that Brubaker’s strength lies with street based urban characters rather than star spanning mutants.
I did find the scene where Storm translates the writing on the walls that supposedly predicts the future. Brubaker manages to create a little mystery with this scene and actually piques my interest for the first time with this plotline involving the Morlocks.
I absolutely love the new edge to Professor X that Brubaker is giving us on this story arc. I dig Professor X’s willingness to use his powers as never before. The 616 Universe has changed so much since M-Day and Civil War. Mutants have been drastically reduced in number. ONE basically has the X-Men on 24 hour guard as they police the Xavier Institute like a prison camp.
It makes perfect sense that the recent events would cause Xavier to change his beliefs on how he should use his powers for the benefit of his own people. Brubaker manages to make this shift in Professor X’s personality without stomping all over Xavier’s character. Brubaker makes Xavier’s shift seem natural and believable.
As always, Warpath kicks ass. Warpath is my favorite X-Man and I dig his no-nonsense attitude. As long as Brubaker gives us some quality Warpath action in each issue, I’ll be a happy guy.
Larocca provides plenty of nice artwork. I have always enjoyed Larocca’s painted style of art.
The Bad: Uncanny X-Men #488 was a rather boring issue. It was a very slow read and had very little action. In order to carry off his usual steady and measured pace, Brubaker absolutely needs to deliver strong captivating character work and plotlines like in his other titles. Unfortunately, Brubaker has failed to do that with Uncanny X-Men. Outside of this new edge to Professor X, none of the characters are particularly captivating. And outside of the hunt for Magneto, none of the other plotlines have really intrigued me.
I found the ending to this issue to be rather ordinary. It was a bit of a generic ending as Masque continues to come across as a mediocre standard issue villain. All Masque does is spout our typical dialogue that we expect from a comic book villain. I find his character dull and his attack on “beautiful looking people” was nothing original or interesting.
The Endangered Species back-up story in Uncanny X-Men #488 was a bit boring and no where near as intriguing as the first installment of this storyline. Of course, this storyline still has plenty of potential and should pick up in pace as we move along.
Overall: Uncanny X-Men #488 continues Brubaker’s trend of cranking out simply ordinary issues each and every month. My faith is Brubaker is getting tested, but I still hold out hope that Brubaker has something spectacular and exciting in store for us. Of course, I definitely find Uncanny X-Men to be a much better product both in terms of writing and artwork than it’s sister title in the X-Men.