March 27, 2010

Marvel Reviews: Uncanny X-Men #522

Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Whilce Portacio & Phil Jimenez
Cover: Mark Brooks

Minor Spoilers!

“Ghostly”: Well its been a long time coming, but we knew it eventually had to happen, and the return of Kitty Pryde is upon us!  Having sacrificed herself at the end of Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men a couple years back, its been in the back of everyone’s mind that one day she would return, and for better or for worse the X-Men will have Magneto to thank for this event.  However, with this return comes a bit of a problem, and that would be the planet sized bullet she’s been trapped in that is now speeding back towards Earth.  So Cyclops gets the X-Club (The X-Men’s science team) working on a solution as news spreads and hope rises about Kitty’s arrival.  He knows there are several unknown variables that could have severe consequences, and for the safety of the planet and everyone on it, he’s trying to have all bases covered.

With X-Men: Second Coming starting next month, I was wondering how Fraction was going to effectively deal with Kitty’s possible return and segue into the much hyped X-Men event.  Well, this issue pretty much focuses on Magneto’s attempt and nothing else, and Fraction delivers a pretty solid story in this issue.  Granted, some story elements were predictable, but it was the focus on character interaction that helped make it a better experience overall.  From Emma’s conversation with a meditating Magneto about the differences between him and Cyclops and their approach to leadership, to the various team members reactions to the news.  Now, I was a little put off by the conversation between Dr. Nemesis and Reed Richards, in which Richards basically chastises him and Dr. Nemesis takes it, when mere moments ago Nemesis had just told Cyclops to be quiet because the grown-ups were talking.  It just didn’t seem to fit the Doctor’s character to just sit there and allow Reed to belittle him in front of everyone, and was a moment that wouldn’t have been missed if it wasn’t in the book at all.

Whilce Portacio handles the artwork for this one and the book looks good, though several panels look a bit rushed, and characters who need pupils were lacking them, making them look uncharacteristically creepy.  Now, I read the book a couple of times and do think that Fraction’s story is more of an emotional one, and that Portacio’s work just didn’t fit with it.  When I think of artists who convey deep emotion, Portacio doesn’t come to mind, but this isn’t to say that he didn’t achieve that in any of his panels; it just wasn’t done on a consistent basis or as effectively as it could have been done.  Phil Jimenez did the artwork for Fraction’s backup story The End of the World and Everything After,” and in a couple of pages did a better job at illustrating the emotions of an alien race as they prepared for their planet’s destruction by the oncoming bullet Kitty Pryde is trapped in.

This was an enjoyable issue right before the X-Men head into their next big event, and it’s probably the morale booster the team has needed for quite some time.  You just have to remember that things like this come with a cost, and Fraction was good enough to remind the X-Men of that at the end of the story.

Infinite Speech



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  2. Eli

    I’ve missed Kitty, its about time that bullet made its way back to earth.

  3. Man, I LOVED this issue- especially the art; holy hell does it look good.

    As for the Nemesis/Reed Richards convo- it worked for me for this reason:

    Nemesis is smarter than Cyclops, but not smarter than Reed Richards. That’s why he took the lip from Reed and I’m ok with that.

  4. Billy

    Nice review IS!

  5. I don’t get it. She’s trapped inside a bomb? Can’t she just phase out? Or disable the thing from inside?

  6. Kris, you would normally think so but the people of the Breakworld had a simpler plan:

    They literally launched a giant bullet at Earth with the intent to destroy it. There was no circuity to short nor bomb to diffuse; It was just a giant chunk of metal hurled at our planet. With every ounce of strength she had left in the tank and some serious willpower, Kitty phased the weapon through the planet, averting armageddon. However, as a consequence, she’s been left flying through space ever since.

    Until now.

  7. @ Andy – Reed came off as an ass plain and simple and it was unnecessary considering he’s made the same call in the past that Dr. Nemesis did.

  8. Jeff Jackson

    Andy, are you serious? That was the worst work Portacio has EVER done. He cannot get Scott’s visor right. It’s off-kilter in every panel. I was really looking forward to this issue, but the retread fate of Kitty along with the awful Portacio art really finished me off. Bring on Second Coming!

  9. I wanted to touch on that too Jeff but I didn’t want to give away too much in the review…it kind of irked me when I read that.

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