Uncanny X-Men #506 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C-

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  • Title: Uncanny X-Men #506
  • Writer: Matt Fraction
  • Pencils: Terry Dodson
  • Inks: Rachel Dodson
  • Colors: Justin Ponsor
  • Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: February 18th, 2009
  • Series:

Uncanny X-Men #506

"...this one just seemed like filler."

By Chad Derdowski     February 20, 2009
Source: Mania


Review: Uncanny X-Men # 506 (slideshow)
© Mania

This was the first issue of Uncanny X-Men I’ve bought in quite a while. Though they’ll always have a special place in my heart, Marvel’s Merry Mutants have long since fallen out of favor in my eyes. Perhaps it’s the fact that ½ of Marvel’s line has an X in the title? Perhaps it’s the convoluted mess the stories became in the 1990’s? Maybe it’s just too much Wolverine? At any rate, while I loved Grant Morrison and Joss Whedon’s runs on the book, I’m more-or-less out of the loop with the X-titles. However, deep within my secret heart, in a place where no one else sees, I carry a tiny torch for the X-Men. No matter how much I might dislike them, I can never truly stop loving them.

Hmmm. Those last couple lines are kind of creepy sounding now that I read them back. How ‘bout we just get on with the review, eh?

The latest issue of the flagship X-book finds the X-Men split up, engaged in various missions which will undoubtedly save mutantkind. Beast and Angel have teamed up with Madison Jeffries and Dr. Nemesis to find some scientist who apparently is some sort of expert on mutation. I think. It wasn’t really very clear, but it was pretty sweet when they fought these crazy lobster creatures on the beach before finding the guy. And I have to admit that Dr. Nemesis is an incredibly cool name. But I really didn’t have any idea what was going on here and I’ve decided that I don’t like the cat look for Beast. I’ve waffled back and forth on it for years now and today marks the day that I have officially decided that I don’t like it. Anyway, the lobstrocities were cool.

Cover art for Uncanny X-Men #506 by Terry Dodson

Meanwhile, Piotor Nikolaievitch Rasputin, better known as Colossus, is on an undercover mission. He’s out to stop some dudes who are trafficking Russian sex slaves, which naturally pisses the big metal guy off and he busts some heads. On a side note, has there ever been an issue of X-Men that didn’t introduce Colossus by his full name? They never just say “Here’s Colossus”, it’s always “Piotor Nikolaievitch Rasputin – Colossus”. Maybe it’s in his contract? At any rate, I figured I’d better do it in this review just in case.

Meanwhile (again) back at Graymalkin Industries, Cyclops is briefing the multitudes of X-Men on their current situation. Trask has leaked footage of the Cooperstown Massacre to the press. Since I’m not reading any X-books, I don’t know exactly what that means, but I know it isn’t good. Also, the local mayor has made it clear that she considers Marin County (where the X-Men are located) to be a safe haven for mutants, which is a good thing, because tons of mutant and former mutant refugees show up at the doors of the mansion seeking sanctuary. Again? Doesn’t this happen in every X-book? I know that it’s sort of the whole point of the X-Men’s mission, but it’s like a broken record. Or like introducing Colossus by his full name every time he appears, only not as sweet.

So was the book any good? Meh. I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t really do anything for me. I would say that I was confused because I picked up a book in the middle of an arc and didn’t know what was going on, but that’s not really the truth. The truth is, I knew exactly what was going on because despite the fact that I don’t regularly read X-Men, this is pretty much exactly what was going on last time I picked up an issue of the X-Men. It’s sort of like when you hear rave reviews about a new TV show so you tune in and you like it, but for whatever reason, you never get the chance to tune in again. Then, six months later, you finally catch another episode and guess what? It’s a rerun of the same episode you already saw. I’m sure there are a lot of great X-stories going on out there, but this one just seemed like filler.

Judging solely by this one issue (which I know isn’t really very fair) I would have to say this book just feels like it’s on auto-pilot. The characters were well written, I suppose, but well written in the way that they just feel like total stereotypes at this point. Beast is smart so he always wants to study whatever monster they’re fighting and says “Oh my stars and garters” in every issue. Colossus is honorable and Cyclops is stressed. Emma has a dark side. Blah blah blah. It felt like Fraction really phoned this one in. It might’ve been a decent conversation, but it was phoned in nonetheless.

The art was good. Didn’t knock my socks off, but that’s just a personal preference. I don’t think I really have anything bad to say about Terry Dodson’s work. He’s got a fluid style that seems like a good fit for a big whiz-bang slam-up action story, though he didn’t seem to have quite an easy of a time with the more somber or emotional scenes.

I haven’t picked up an issue of Uncanny X-Men in quite a while and this issue isn’t likely to prompt me to pick up another any time soon. But it didn’t make me hate the X-Men either. There is still a tiny box sheltered deep within my secret heart – only I know where the key is, and inside there is still a tiny torch that burns for the X-Men. It isn’t likely to become a raging inferno though. I’d give the book a C based on its middle-of-the-road blandness, but due to it’s repetitive “these are the X-Men and this is what they’re about” nature, it gets a C-.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
Superfist_home 2/20/2009 8:57:13 AM

 I quit picking up any X-books a few months back after revisiting them for about a year. I found it to be horrible, horrible stuff that left me hating the readers who buy this garbage and make it popular. I do like the Dodson's art, I just find it to be wasted on a 10 year trainwreck of the formerly great characters world. Now I know it was a light week if you picked this one up.

Hobbs 2/20/2009 9:55:45 AM

I haven't read X-Men since the 90's so I thought I would check this out and see what they've been up to....I see not much has changed....except what happened to Wolvie?  Is he still an X-Man or has movie fame make him a solo artist?  As far as Colossus...didn't he die? I could have sworn someone told me he was dead and gone, they burned his body and spread his ashes over something....Granted, i realize this is Marvel and no one is ever truly dead but its a little hard to come back from that one.  Would be curious to know what kind of B.S. they came up to explain that one.  

I said it once and I'll say it again...Marvel screwed up comic books as I knew them growing up.  Stan Lee will eventually be turning over in his grave.

ChadDerdowski 2/20/2009 10:26:55 AM

Colossus did in fact die a few years ago, Hobbs.  This was during the era of the "anyone who dies stays dead" editorial mandate that was going on at the time.  Naturally, he came back a couple years later.  The explanation?  Umm... wow, I was actually reading the book at that point and I can't even remember.

invisioner 2/20/2009 11:07:59 AM

 I stopped reading X-Men after the age of Apocalypse, which I actually liked, but saw the future to be too boring to continue afterwards, and didn't see how Colossus died, but he came back under Josh Wedon in an Angel sort of way, he was a prisoner of a new villian and busted out by Kitty Pryde. Apparently, the government helped get him switched with a clone or something that drab and secreted away to appease an alien race convinced he and the X-Men were harbingered to bring about the destruction of their race. So, what you saw wasn't Peter dying, it was someone/something else.

I miss the real X-Men, not the crap that has spun out since, I am waiting for the Hell Queen to get hers, and Summers to remember that she is/was/always will be, evil. Whedon started something cool, but petered out with the Astonishing X-Men, I even liked how Summers  grew up a little, and got control over his eyes, which I didn't really understand how he lost again. If only Marvel, (DC too) could develop some consistency!

gauleyboy420 2/20/2009 12:08:23 PM

Whedons Astonishing X-Men was the best thing to happen to the X-men in 5 years, since Millar's Ultimate X-men.

Still I think I liked Whedons Astonishing better that Ultimate.

 

SUX that he is not writing it anymore, I can't read x-men anymore, and they think putting Claremont back on an X-title will help. Remember the shit job he did when he came back about 5 years ago, unreadable. Hmmmm The unreadable X-men, that should be the new title.

 

Anyway I started picking these (Uncanny) up again because of the amazing art. There is no way not Dodsons art is not simply Beautiful!

CalamityJohnson 2/20/2009 1:26:33 PM

yeah, unfortunately, you hopped on in the middle of various storylines. Matt appears to be building up to the X-Men's showdown w/the Sisterhood led by the Goblin Queen (Madeline Pryor). I think Matt's been trying to infuse the X-men w/more character/narrative to contrast w/some of the crossovers they've been subjected to over the last 3 years. Unfortunately, these characters have been so flushed out over the years we don't really need to hear another story of how Piotr is honorable, Scott is stressed, etc as you say. I will say that since Matt's been on the book 'round #500 it has been a LOAD better. I enjoyed their battles w/the Marauders a few issues back but it still doesn't compare w/their battles way back durign the Mutant Massacre and #221 and #222 in Frisco. I guess you're turned away but I hope you'll keep an eye out for the next few issues when the Sisterhood finally make their move.

...and no Wolverine? Shhh.... don't jinx a good thing... Leave him be over in X-Force.

If you really want a good read this week you need to pick up Thor #600... woot

ChadDerdowski 2/21/2009 6:15:13 AM

Joss Whedon was the first writer in years that made me feel like I was actually reading the X-Men again.  I loved Grant Morrison's run for all of the crazy new ideas he filled it with and the new direction he took it in, but Whedon... man, that felt like being a kid.  No, that's not true - it felt like the natural, logical progression of where the characters I loved when I was younger would've actually gone, had they been handled by folks who cared or knew anything about them.

*sigh*

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