Uncanny X-Men 534
Written by Matt Fraction and Kieron Gillen
Penciled by Greg Land and Paul Renaud
I’ve always appreciated books that feature two stories at once. Matt Fraction’s latest Uncanny X-Men arc, “Quarantine,” does just that. Both stories, the H1-X1 virus and the Emma/Shaw problem, conclude in issue 534.
Aside from the silly name, the H1-X1 virus is actually a unique take on mutants. Along side the virus, which has crippled most of Utopia’s mutants, humans are being sold mutant powers in the form of a drug. I couldn’t help but think of myself as a child, wishing I had mutant powers, ready to do just about anything to get them.
My favorite aspect of the “Quarantine” arc actually doesn’t involve the H1-X1 virus. Emma has left Utopia with her secret prisoner, Sebastian Shaw. During the “Dark Reign,” Emma promised a furious Namor that she would kill Shaw for his crimes against Atlantis. Instead, she uses her telepathy to make Namor think she kills Shaw. Shaw is placed in secret custody until now; a worried Emma has taken Shaw to the furthest place from Namor the world offers.
The outcome of both conflicts is the best part of the book. Scott once again shows why he is the leader of the X-Men and Emma’s final actions with Shaw prove once and for all where her loyalties lie.
Written by Victor Gischler
Penciled by Chris Bachalo
I can’t say much good about this book. As an avid X-Men fan, I read most titles unconditionally. This mantra is being tested though with this certain X book.
This particular arc involves a small team of X-Men, Spider-Man, some humans turned into lizards, and apparently, Dark Beast. Yes, Hank McCoy’s dark double from the “Age of Apocalypse” universe. The idea is that the X-Men need to get out in the world to serve and protect, much like the other super heroes of the Marvel universe. So a few X-Men find themselves in NYC along side everybody’s favorite web-slinger. Truthfully, its not a bad idea. Unfortunately, the delivery is flat and unexciting.
My biggest complaint about this issue, and the series for that matter, is that the stories don’t have the X-Men feel. The characters are almost unrecognizable. The dialogue, especially that of Dark Beast, is painfully dull at times. There is no real suspense, despite the danger the characters are facing. And what about the art? Aside from the first page, its not my cup of tea. Wolverine seems to change size panel to panel and Emma and Storm are anything but attractive (I can’t believe I am saying that).
Lastly, I am going to make a continuity complaint. No, I am not referring to the obvious frustration that this book doesn’t line up with Uncanny or Legacy. I am talking about the use of Dark Beast. He’s a good villain and I’ve always liked him, especially in Dark X-Men, but didn’t I just see Dark Beast on the Raft in the last issue of Thunderbolts? If he is in a maximum security prison, how can he be in the sewers on New York?
That said, I am not going to give up on this book yet. Its still too early to assume that the book won’t take off, plus the next arc is supposed to be a real doozy.
Daken Dark Wolverine 7
Written by Daniel Way
Penciled by Agustin Padilla
Daken finalizes his take over of Madripoor in the conclusion to the “Empire” arc. He will now rule from the shadows by way of controlling the underworld and the police.
Daken has been one of the more interesting characters of the Marvel Universe over the past few years. He can play both the hero and the villain at the same time. His motives are never truly known, seemingly two steps ahead of everyone around him. This book gives Daken the opportunity to star on his own. Until this point, Daken has always been a part of someone else’s story. But now, we get to see Daken on his own, and I have to admit, I am not used to it yet.
Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed reading each issue, including this one. Daken is an intriguing character whose charisma and charm capture both the readers and the other characters’ attention. The book has been written and penciled very well. I am sure that as the book progresses, I will become more comfortable with seeing Daken doing his bidding rather than someone else’s.
As for this particular issue, there wasn’t much action, aside from some minor characters duking it out. The political dialogue was a bit confusing at times but the two twists by the end of the book have me excited for the next issue.
Lastly, I love the cover. Clearly a tribute to Wolverine 1, which ironically took place in Madripoor.