Uncanny X-Men #490 Review

The last issue of Uncanny X-Men finally showed what Brubaker is capable of pulling off on this title. It seems that Brubaker has finally gotten his bearings straight on this title after giving us issues that were certainly not up to the same high standard that we have gotten used to over on Captain America, Daredevil, Iron Fist and Criminal. I’m glad that it appears that Brubaker has turned the corner on Uncanny X-Men and this current story arc is shaping up to be a rather exciting read. I’m sure that Uncanny X-men #490 will be a good read. Let’s do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Salvador Larroca

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 train full of passengers stranded outside of New York since all incoming trains have been delayed due to the mutant terrorist attack of last issue. A passenger is watching a news report about the mutant terrorist attack on his iPod. (Huh? What kind of iPod is that? The only iPod that has internet capabilities is that sweet new iPod Touch. I cannot wait to get one of those when they come out September 28th.) We see a white haired man in a purple hat and trench coat on the train listening in on the report.

We cut to Skids, Storm, Caliban, Hepzibah and Warpath stalking through the sewers searching for the Morlocks. Storm isn’t thrilled being in the sewers due to her claustrophobia. Luckily, Skids being a SHIELD operative enabled them to get out of their scrape with the ONE soldiers that we saw at the end of last issue.

Skids tells the X-Men that after M-Day, the Morlocks felt hopeless and were looking for miracles. Qwerty, one of the Morlocks who was normally catatonic due to her powers to see all the options of very choice and how they would work out. Qwerty saw M-Day coming and her losing her powers. So, Qwerty suddenly got up and wrote The Book.

We cut to Storm sending all of this information from Skids to Professor X telepathically. Professor X tells Nightcrawler that the Morlocks have split into factions and that Skids has being spying on both groups for SHIELD. Professor X says that their search for Magneto must wait until they address this more pressing issue with the Morlocks.

We shift to Hepzibah and Warpath on their own searching through the sewer tunnels. Evidently, Hepzibah’s people burrow to nest and being in the tunnels is triggering her instinct for S-E-X. Warpath tells Hepzibah that this isn’t the time or place.

Suddenly, Masque and his followers bust into the scene. Hepzibah wants to fight, but Warpath says that a tactical retreat is a better idea. The two X-Men make an escape. Warpath says that he saw a dampener on Leach and that they should free Leach and use his abilities to nullify the powers of Masque and his followers.

We cut back to Storm, Skids and Caliban talking about The Book. That it is a map of possibilities. That Skids has seen it and says it never made sense to her. Our heroes then enter Lindisfarne, the sanctuary of the new dream. Delphi is the leader of this faction of Morlocks. They are pacifists. They believe that The Book shows a bright future for mutantkind and that everything is predestined to happen.

We shift back to Warpath and Hepzibah attacking Masque and his group. Masque predicts exactly when Warpath and Hepzibah were going to attack thanks to the help of The Book. Masque makes a run for it with Leach in tow. Warpath catches up to Masque and takes him down. Unfortunately, Leach is really Masque in disguise. Masque then uses his powers to seal up Warpath’s face and mouth. Hepzibah freaks out, but before she can attack she is knocked out from behind.

Masque’s team is impressed that this all went exactly as Masque said it would. Masque then comments that it is not time for Hepzibah and Warpath to die. That it doesn’t happen this way according to The Book. Therefore, Masque returns Warpath’s face back to normal. Masque says it is time to go set off the bombs around Delphi and her followers.

We hop back to Lindisfarne where Delphi tells Storm that what must come must come. Suddenly, explosions go off and the roof begins to cave in. Delphi says that this is the point when Masque and his people come to bury them. Storm freaks out.

We zip to Nightcrawler and Professor X in the Blackbird. Suddenly, a lightning storm appears and Professor X grabs his head. Professor X says that Storm’s mind suddenly went white and that he can’t get into her mind now. That all he hears is screaming.

We shift back to Storm completely buried in rubble with just enough space to create a tiny bit of light from some miniature lightning bolts in her hand. Storm is paralyzed with fear. End of story.

We then get another Endangered Species back-up story. Beast and Bishop go to Mutant Town to meet with a drug dealer who traffics in large amounts of Mutant Growth Hormone. We see the large stash of vials of MGH that the drug dealer has in his safe room. The dealer tells Beast that on M-Day all of his vials of MGH suddenly went inert. That there were no traces of mutant DNA in them at all.

The dealer then offers Bishop and Beast a ton of money if he can get samples of their blood to make MGH. The dealer says that they all can become wildly rich. Beast snaps and grabs the dealer by the throat and dangles him out a window. Beast thinks about killing the dealer, but decides against it. (No real surprise there.)

Beast and Bishop leave the dealer’s place. Beast is depressed that he has hit a total dead end. That he doesn’t know where to go from here. Bishop says he isn’t worried because in his future there are tons of mutants. Beast then comments that Bishop is from an alternate future like Marvel Girl and Cable. That Bishop’s very presence here makes it unlikely that it will ever…Beast pauses and then says “Wait. That could be it.” End of issue.

The Good: Uncanny X-Men #490 was another solid read. Brubaker is really hitting his stride on this title and has elevated this story to the standard that we get from him on his other titles. This issue was well paced and plotted. Brubaker employs his usual measured and steady pacing, but tosses in a fast paced action scene to keep the issue from being too restrained. The pacing also increases as the issue progresses. Brubaker uses shorter scenes near the end of this issue that quickly cut back and forth. This does a nice job in creating tension in the reader as we frantically turn the last few pages leading up the excellent ending.

Brubaker knows how to serve up a well crafted hook ending. Storm is in her own little personal hell right now. I dig that Brubaker takes a long established character trait of Storm that we don’t see that often and uses it in this story. This move shows attention to detail and also re-enforces the unique personality quirks of each X-Man. And the various personality quirks are exactly what make the members of the X-Men such well developed and intriguing characters.

I dig how Brubaker is slowly bringing together the separate plotlines of the Prophecy and the search for Magneto. We see a white haired man in a purple hat and purple trench coat listening to the newscast about the mutant terrorist attack. That white haired man is Magneto. Professor X’s decision to postpone his search for Magneto while they deal with the Morlocks won’t matter much. It appears that Magneto has a strong interest in these mutant terrorist attacks and will probably be paying a visit to Masque relatively soon.

I love both the Prophecy plotline as well as the return of Magneto plotline. Brubaker has finally managed to craft a story on this title that completely captures my attention. The star spanning cosmic war that kicked off Brubaker’s run on Uncanny X-Men just didn’t play to Brubaker’s strengths as a writer.

This current story arc, on the other hand, builds off of strong character work and an intriguing mystery which is perfect for Brubaker. Brubaker’s talents really shine more on a smaller scale and setting. And since Brubaker is an incredibly strong noir crime writer, a mystery tale is right up his alley.

The Prophecy plotline just gets better and better. We finally learn about the origin of The Book. I like the concept of Qwerty suddenly breaking out of her catatonic state in a frenzied effort to write her book of visions for the future just before her inevitable loss of powers.

I am certainly intrigued by The Book and its possibilities. It should be fun learning more about what the Book says and what the Prophecy is that Masque is trying so desperately to bring about. And of course, you know that Magneto has to play a pivotal role in all of this.

I liked the action scene involving Warpath and Hepzibah. Any issue that has a fight scene involving my boy Warpath is all right with me. I continue to enjoy the pairing of Warpath and Hepzibah. They are such primal characters that it makes sense they would gravitate towards each other. Having said that, the entire nesting urge that Hepzibah had in this issue was a bit too cheesy.

Salvador Larocca’s artwork is solid and certainly gets the job done. However, I have to say that his recent artwork isn’t nearly as pretty as what we got on his run on X-Men.

The Bad: The Endangered Species back-up story was boring and uninteresting. This story has gotten increasingly less interesting with each installment. It is repetitious, slow and dull. I am quickly losing any and all interesting in this story. Hopefully, this story will pick up once again and actually become something other than a rambling and ponderous read. Personally, I’d much rather get an additional eight pages of Brubaker goodness than this back-up story.

Overall: Uncanny X-Men #490 was another good read and Brubaker just gets stronger and stronger with each issue. I love this current story arc and, for the first time in quite a long time, I am genuinely excited and anxious for the newest issue of Uncanny X-Men. If you haven’t tried Uncanny X-Men in a while then definitely give it a chance. Brubaker is finally working his magic on this title.

1 thought on “Uncanny X-Men #490 Review

  1. This was my favourite issue yet in terms of pacing.

    I also find the way the books are being used quite fascinating; since, based on this, Masque knows exactly what will happen, he should be unstoppable (unless he is stopped, and lets it happen, like those pacifist believers did).

    Larocca’s style her is now really, really photo-real; it’s great for rendering realism, although it’s not especially dynamic (and that cover? The hell is going on there?). It’s good art, overall, and not typical superhero stuff, since not everyone looks like a model.

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