Messiah Complex: Uncanny X-Men #493 Review

Messiah Complex is white hot at the moment. The only story arc better than Messiah Complex would be the Sinestro War. And that is it. I’m positive that Uncanny X-Men #493 is going to keep the ball rolling and deliver another outstanding read. Let’s not waste any more time and go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Billy Tan
Inks: Danny Miki & Allen Martinez

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Storm, Nightcrawler, Angel, Colossus and Wolverine on the Blackbird headed back to the X-Mansion. Nightcrawler is badly hurt and the others are pretty banged up. At least Wolverine’s healing factor has kicked back into working order.

We cut to the X-Mansion where the X-Men there are brawling with the two infected Sentinels. Beast takes Emma to the infirmary. On his way there, he stumbles across the unconscious bodies of all three of Emma’s girls.

We see Thunderbird and Hepzibah joining the fight against the Sentinels. Warpath is happy to finally be able to attack the Sentinels.

We shift to the Marauders’ base where Mr. Sinister is in a good mood. All the data has been transferred and Sinister says it is time to pick up the wounded and abandon this base. That they have learned something that makes him happy. That the X-Men thought the Marauders had the child. That means that Cable is on his own and he’s damaged. That this changes everything.

We cut to Cable with the baby making their way through a forest. The baby is crying and Cable pleads with the baby to be quiet so it won’t attract predators.

We hop back to the X-Mansion where Iceman and the New X-Men arrive on the scene in a Blackbird. Iceman flies the Blackbird through the head of one of the Sentinels. Hellion is taken to the infirmary while Iceman and the rest of the New X-Men join the fight against the Sentinels.

We shift to Beast and Cannonball in the infirmary tending to Professor X and Emma. Beast comments that “They’re taking out all the telepaths…Why?” We cut back to Cyclops, Iceman and Warpath combining their powers to take down one of the Sentinels. Cyclops has Dust enter one of the Sentinels to see what is wrong with them. Dust manages to ferret out what caused the Sentinels to turn bad.

We see Dust exit one of the disable Sentinels and right behind him comes out a metallic creature. The robotic creature states that the mutants will be terminated in due time and then leaves the scene.

We shift forward to a little later that day. Wolverine and Cyclops are recounting all that has just taken place. Cyclops says that the Sentinel pilots where infect by the Nano-Sentinels that Cassandra Nova created. That all of the telepaths have been take out. That the X-Men have sustained numerous casualties. And that their only healer, Elixir, was injured during the fight with the Sentinels and will be unconscious for days.

Wolverine asks if Cable would really go so far as to unleash the Nano-Sentinels like some kind of virus. Scott replies that Cable had access to them and he is a capable scientist. That they have no idea what Cable’s agenda is anymore. That they have to assume the worst.

Scott then says that it is time to up the stakes. That the future of their race is in the hands of a mutant who just turned on them and who could have killed them all. Wolverine comments that he never though Scott had the stones to pull the trigger on this plan. That Professor X would never have even come up with this plan. Scott replies that these are desperate times.

Scott says that Wolverine’s target is Cable. That Wolverine is to take Cable down and get the child back by any means necessary. Scott tells Wolverine to assemble the X-Force and get the job done.

We see the members of X-Force. The roster includes Wolverine, the lame little girl derivative copycat Wolverine, Caliban, Hepzibah, Warpath and Wolfsbane. End of issue.

The Good: Uncanny X-Men #493 was a great read. Brubaker crafts plenty of his usual strong dialogue. Brubaker has a good feel for the various X-Men and each character has their own unique voice. Brubaker is also able to generate quality chemistry between the various X-Men. I thought Brubaker did a great job having the X-Men function well as a team during their fight with the Sentinels.

Brubaker delivers an excellently paced issue. The story moves quickly, yet it never feels rushed or hurried. The reader gets treated to an issue that crackles with intensity and has plenty of dynamic action scenes. The furiousness of this issue accomplishes its purpose of creating plenty of tension within the reader.

The action scenes kicked ass. They had plenty of intensity and a proper flow to them. And it was great to finally see Warpath kicking some butt on this story arc. Nobody does carnage quite like Warpath. Warpath has been itching to brawl with the Sentinels for quite some time now. It was nice to finally get to see Warpath ripping his way through the Sentinels.

Brubaker manages to create an enjoyable feeling of chaos and all out war. The reader gets flooded with a high number of casualties being sustained by the X-Men. All the telepaths are out and the healer is out as well. One of Brubaker’s greatest talents is being able to place heroes in overwhelmingly impossible odds and incredibly desperate situations. It makes it a riveting read to watch our heroes try and work their way through whatever Brubaker has placed in front of them.

Uncanny X-Men #493 is a well plotted issue. The Messiah Complex story is an impressively crafted story with phenomenal long term vision as every single plotline meshes perfectly together to give the reader a tight and seamless story.

Brubaker also employs plenty of plot progression and development in this issue. With each issue, the reader gets treated to several twists and turns and by the end of this issue the reader has even more questions that needing answering than when we started the issue.

The revelation that the Sentinel robots were infected by Cassandra Nova’s Nano-Sentinel virus was a cool twist. It is shocking to think that Cable would release this virus on his own teammates. Of course, that assumes that it was Cable behind that attack. With the Messiah Complex, you are never too sure exactly who is behind what. I’m curious to learn more about whoever was behind this Nano-Sentinel virus attack.

Also, bringing the Nano-Sentinel virus in this issue just expands the grand scope of Messiah Complex. The boys at Marvel are brining everything out from the X-Men’s past. Marauders, Purifiers, Lady Deathstrike, Reavers, Predator X, Nano-Sentinels, etc. It gives this story arc a big event feel to it and makes the reader feel as if anything can happen at any moment in this story.

I loved the scene with Logan and Scott near the end of this issue. Brubaker does a superb job further demonstrating the maturation of Scott’s character. Make no mistake, this isn’t your old milk toast Scott Summers. Cyclops has a huge set of cojones. Scott is every bit the strong and tough leader who has the guts to pull the trigger on seriously tough and morally ambiguous decisions.

This scene also further stresses the stark contrast between how Professor Xavier ran the X-Men and how Scott currently runs the X-Men. Brubaker has done a wonderful job handling the relationship between these two characters and contrasting the differences in how Scott sees fit to the run the X-Men compared to how Professor X used to run the show. I like the harder edge of Scott’s character and his willingness to devise and put into action plans that Xavier would have never sanctioned.

I’m curious to learn just what Cable is up to and if he is really behind all of these attacks on the X-Men. I never would have pegged Cable for a traitor and am positive that he has good reason for acting on his own and not in concert with the X-Men. It should be fun once we learn what is going on with Cable.

Brubaker ends Uncanny X-Men #243 with a great hook ending. Brubaker unveils the all new X-Force to the reader. With the sole exception of the lame derivative character, I find X-Force to be a pretty bad-assed collection of tough characters. It should certainly be fun watching X-Force try and take down Cable or anyone else who gets in their way.

Tan cranks out plenty of quality artwork. It is refreshing to actually see each character drawn with a unique looking face rather than the same generic cartoonish styled face that Bachalo gives everyone. Tan does a nice job bringing Brubaker’s action scenes to life.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.

Overall: Uncanny X-Men #493 was another excellent installment of Messiah Complex. This story arc has been an absolute joy to read. If you haven’t been getting these issues, then you are really missing out on one of the greatest X-Men stories in an incredibly long time. I definitely recommend getting Messiah Complex when it is released in trade paperback form.

4 thoughts on “Messiah Complex: Uncanny X-Men #493 Review

  1. You don’t like Laura? Aww, she’s a favourite of mine. Undeniably a Wolverine takeoff (hard to avoid, since she’s a clone), but she’s an interesting spin on the concept (Wolverine is a once-normal guy trying to escape his past after being turned into a killing-machine, X-23 was raised as a killing-machine and wants to be normal, which she has a rather warped idea of).

    X-Force looks cool (as a sidenote, their debut panel is another instance of artists simulating lens flare, which is a flaw caused by the properties of a camera lens, but people are so used to it that animators for CGI and 2D stuff add it in anyway or it detracts from “realism”). They’re apparently sticking around after the crossover as Cyclops’ special ops crew (Kyle and Yost writing, Clayton Crain on art).

    I’m not normally much of a Finch fan (too much cross-hatching, among other things), but that’s an absolutely excellent cover.

    The only terrestrial X-elements missing right now are Magneto and Apocalypse. I’m expecting we’ll hear from big M in some capacity (there are apparently big plans for him in 2008), but not Apocalypse (he’s hard to get right, and his last story left him in something of a weird spot).

    Among the many reasons I doubt Cable sent the nano-Sentinels (it would turn him into a villain, since, even if he didn’t kill any X-Men, he seems to have killed the pilots), the fact that he’s hoofing it in the Canadian hinterland doesn’t suggest he’s got much in the way of tech at the moment. I have no idea who did; of the existing players, it clearly wasn’t Sinister; they’ve been playing up how much tech the Purifiers have, so maybe them. Longshot, maybe Master Mold and the independent Sentinels are back.

  2. Rokk – Magneto is dead. Remember? Wolverine decapitated him after he infiltrated the X-Men as Xorn.

    That IS what happened. I don’t care what the revisionists at Marvel think.

    Vive’ Le Morrison!

  3. I’ve skimmed your review to spare any big spoilers, but you’ve convinced me: I need to start picking this one up, and if I’m lucky I’ll get caught up with ’em over the holidays. Thanks!

  4. Just how many times can Brubaker use the phrase Damn It in one issue? Seems like every two pannels somebody says that, ever since the one shot. Some more extensive vocabulary would be nice.

    Anyway, it sure was an enjoyable issue, X-Men vs Sentinels is always a classic. I really hope Nezhno is not dead, he’s quite an underused character. And having Elixir conveniently unconcious for days is just lame, but justifiable I guess, so he won’t turn into a deus ex machina.

    Wonder what happened to the reast of the New X-Man? Iceman got back with just four of them…

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