Following what was undoubtedly Uncanny X-Men’s best issue yet, I’m sad to report this week’s installment, Uncanny X-Men #5, is my least-favorite issue yet. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of potential in these pages, but on the whole, it just doesn’t provide a complete and satisfying read.
Co-writers Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg and Kelly Thompson kick things off right, checking back in with the all-new, all-different X-Man and his prisoners, Kitty Pryde, Senator Allen and Apocalypse. This is a terrific scene that showcases Nate Grey’s current mental state and outlook on life, and the role the captive trio now plays as his council. X-Man can’t save the world alone, so he depends on these very different personalities to guide his decisions. Unfortunately, when you take advice from someone like Apocalypse, you end up wiping out the world’s religious landmarks. Whoops!
In all seriousness, I loved this scene. This is big and bold Miracleman-like storytelling that isn’t afraid to tackle complex ideas, like what the world would be like without multiple gods. Because… who needs things like gods and religion when you’ve got X-Man?
From a fascinating–and terrifying–beginning, this comic becomes a victim of its own story… its massive, sprawling, epic story. I’ve said it before and I stand by it–“X-Men Disassembled” will likely be a terrific trade paperback. In single issues, even on a weekly basis, it’s very hard to deliver satisfying single issues. Just what exactly is going on in Beast’s lab? Can Legion truly be trusted? What exactly did Omega Red and Blob do to that oil rig? These are all great questions, but we don’t spend nearly enough time answering them (or at all, in some cases).
The story does finally pick up when we check in with Storm’s team, as the confrontations between the X-Men and Horsemen of Salvation pack an emotional punch. Magneto vs. his daughter Polaris, Angel vs. his former lover Psylocke–it’s hard not to make these scenes enjoyable. And sure enough, this is where we get some of the comic’s best scenes, including the final page, which is downright badass.
That final-page image also reminds readers how talented artist R.B. Silva is. While his pencils are always solid, he especially excels when his characters are cutting loose in battle. You can just feel the magnetic energy crackling as Polaris and Magneto clash. Also, Silva’s take on the new-old Psylocke makes it easy not to miss Jim Lee’s iconic redesign of the character.
Still, a few amazing moments can’t help raise this “good” comic’s status to “great.” We’re now halfway through this 10-part opening story arc, and I really hope the creators can deliver a finish that’s tighter than its beginning. Right now, there are just too many subplots floating around, getting in the way of what could be a more streamlined and impactful X-Men epic.