Wednesday, June 3, 2009

UXM #363 – January 1999

Uncanny X-Men #363

When You’re Unwanted

Credits: Steve Seagle (writer), Chris Bachalo (penciler), Art Thibert & Tim Townsend (inkers), Liquid! Graphics (colors), Comicraft (letters)

Summary: Wolverine, Shadowcat, Nightcrawler, and Marrow follow Professor Xavier’s trail in San Francisco. Nearby, a Cerebro robot attempts to “catalogue” a latent mutant, but he’s ordered by a mysterious voice to follow new instructions. In Utah, a Cerebro robot steals samples of Bastion’s nanotechnology from a government facility. In Chinatown, Black Crane, a friend of Wolverine’s with mystic abilities, directs the X-Men to Alcatraz. When they arrive, they’re attacked by a new Brotherhood of Mutants, consisting of Blob, Toad, Mimic, and Post. Professor Xavier emerges and stops the fight, declaring the Brotherhood his new students. Xavier claims that they’re united against a common enemy, as a Cerebro robot suddenly bursts in.

Continuity Notes: Toad is now apparently insane, and speaks in rhyme. Post claims that the Brotherhood broke Xavier out of his New Mexico prison, not knowing that his telepathic powers were gone. A narrative caption says that the Cerebro robots were created by Bastion, a claim later repeated by Professor Xavier.

Miscellaneous Note: The Statement of Ownership lists average sales for the year at 233,656 copies, with the most recent issue selling 218,895.

Review: This is the crossover’s second weak issue of UXM. Like the previous issue, this is just dull. The X-Men go where the story needs them to go, fight the Brotherhood, find Xavier, and then the real villain appears. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the plot, the execution just fails to make it interesting. The X-Men have been separated from Xavier for over two years at this point, yet his return doesn’t feel like that big of a deal. Bachalo’s art might have something to do with this, as his cartoony style just doesn’t seem to convey any drama. I didn’t have that problem with his previous work, but the character designs in these issues are so exaggerated it’s hard to buy into the story (Liquid!’s extremely bright color palette is also a part of the problem, as the interior of Alcatraz is often portrayed as a shiny yellow). The selection of these characters as the new Brotherhood did seem odd at first, but Blob, Post and Mimic’s connection to Xavier/Onslaught actually works in the story’s favor. Toad, on the other hand, doesn’t have that connection, and is now insane for no obvious reason. I guess it’s the latest in his ongoing series of personality changes, but this switch has always annoyed me.

X-Men #83

Tomb of Ice

Credits: Joe Kelly (writer), Adam Kubert (penciler), Livesay/Wiacek/Llamas (inkers), Richard Isanove (colors), Comicraft (letters)

Summary: In Tajikistan, the X-Men fight off the animated Cerebro. They flee with Nina and Renee Majcomb, who explains that she and Nina traveled to this monastery after escaping from Bastion. Months later, the animated Cerebro arrived to kidnap Nina, killing dozens of monks in the process. Nina was able to use her telepathic and reality bending powers to keep it away, until she was distracted by the X-Men’s arrival. The animated Cerebro returns and possesses Colossus’ body. During the fight, Cerebro blasts Storm and she disappears. The remaining X-Men are left unconscious as Cerebro flies away with Nina.

Continuity Notes: Renee Majcomb and Nina ended up in this monastery because Nina picked the memory from Xavier’s mind. Xavier spent time with these monks as a “youth”, which was presumably during the time he spent traveling the world. It’s revealed that Nina “imprinted” on to Xavier like a duck does its mother, explaining why Cerebro reads her as Xavier.

For the record, the Cerebro in UXM is a robot, while the one in X-Men is an energy form that wears the standard Cerebro headpiece, and appears to have a metallic spine. Another Cerebro is directing their orders from the “Liberty Electric Authority”, which is presumably in America.

Production Note: One page in this issue is clearly drawn by another artist. The page is a quick cutaway that recaps events that occurred in San Francisco during the previous chapter of the crossover. The dialogue is also pretty stiff, leading me to believe that Joe Kelly didn’t write it, either.

Review: The X-Men chapter is once again more enjoyable than the UXM installment, although this isn’t as strong as the previous issue. Kelly doesn’t give you the impression that he’s simply going through the motions, but it’s still not that interesting of a story. There is one nice character moment, as Nina gives Rogue a telepathic play-by-play of the X-Men getting devastated by Cerebro while she’s trying to fly her away. The story ties up some of the loose ends from the previous issue, as the dead monks are explained, and we’re told why Cerebro detected Xavier in Tajikistan. The explanation doesn’t make an awful lot of sense, but that’s true of most of the story elements that surround Nina. Adam Kubert’s art is as strong as ever, even though I dislike the design of the animated Cerebro. Having him possess Colossus doesn’t exactly improve the look, either.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...