Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review- Uncanny X-Men: The Birth of Generation Hope

Collects Uncanny X-Men Nos. 526-529 and Uncanny X-Men: The Heroic Age(cover dates September- December, 2010)
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artists: Whilce Portacio and others
This is the first of three X-Men books that I'll be reviewing...the last three books of modern X-Men that I'll ever buy unless Chris Claremont, John Byrne, John Romita, Jr. and/or Alan Davis return to the title. I haven't been fond of the X-Men for some time and have just kept buying it out of habit. Somewhere along the way the characters that I grew up loving died and were replaced with these fan fiction counterparts. I was reading the modern titles pretty regularly, then stepped back and took a look. I didn't like what I found. Most of the changes that Grant Morrison made on his vastly overrated New X-Men run have stuck. The White Queen (Emma Frost) as an X-Man still grates my nerves. She was such a terrific villain, and I thought for sure that they would've undone that by now, but no.
Matt Fraction, whose work I usually enjoy, produces some cringe-worthy dialogue here. His writing is 'realistic', bordering on Bendis-bad, folks. If you are going to ape someone's writing style, you should at least ape somebody good. I am glad that I came to this conclusion to jump ship on the X-Men on my own, since the recent news that Bendis will be the new X-Men writer would have forced me right off of the book anyways.
Four more new characters are introduced in this arc, with the prerequisite politically correct demographic fulfilled. It's like they aren't even trying to make exciting characters any more. When was the last time that they brought in an interesting new character? Dr. Nemesis seems kind of okay, but isn't given enough screen time for me to really form a solid opinion on either way. The Sub-Mariner and Northstar as X-Men are interesting choices, but again, no real screen time other than having conversations. I guess that I find people in costumes sitting around talking to be boring. I must be the one with something wrong with me, who obviously doesn't know what comic books are about, right? I like story, character development, and action...all in the same comic book. Not four issues of talking, 1 issue with 6-8 pages of fighting.
So yeah, the X-Men that I grew up with are long dead and gone. Sitting here reading the stories with these characters is like talking to someone you knew 20 years ago. Sure, there are some recognizable traits, but these people have grown and changed in such ways that they are not the same people they once were. Not even close. I will still buy classic collected editions of X-Men titles, but I am out for the modern titles. I enjoyed Astonishing X-Men and the occasional arc here and there over the last decade, but I am done.
The OCD zone- High quality, wax coated cardstock cover, paper's a bit thinner than they used to use in trades but most people wouldn't notice anyways. I'm happy with this book, at least production wise.

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  1. So the question is...if you had to do it all over again, which issue of Uncanny is your stopping point?

    1. There is no definite on/off point. There were eras after 1990 with extreme crap, but there were intermittent flares of brilliance and decent stories, too. Just seeing Cyclops as a ruthless SOB, Beast in his stupid secondary mutation form for a decade, Storm being married to the Black Panther...this is all just stupid shit that was done for the sake of doing something rather than furthering the character. It's something for asshole writers to say "Yup, I fucked that character up so much that every subsequent writer will have to play with this broken toy too". Sad.