Uncanny X-Men #456

Reviewer: James Hatton

Title: Last Night I had the Strangest Dream
Publisher: Marvel Comics

By: Chris Claremont & Chris Bachalo
Inks: Holdridge, Mendoza, , Parsons, Olazaba, Rapmund, Townsend & Vey
Colors: Studio F
Lettering: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: Dan Buckley

I need to get something off my chest.

I mentioned it earlier this week on the forum boards, but I think now it needs to be stated for the record. I believe the X-Men are the central bargaining chip in a plot conceived by Chris Claremont to once again have total control of the X-Universe.

I know it’s crazy.. hear me out.

First he will come back somewhere around X-Men 100 and start a ‘Revolution’ that will go absolutely nowhere. Seeing this downturn in interest, Marvel will give Claremont his own title (X-Treme) to begin plotlines that will never get put into any logical base of continuity.

From there, Claremont will bide his time until he gets what he REALLY wants… to be back where he started, right on Uncanny X-Men – and put out another book that was once truly loved and adored (Excalibur). He will make this a suckfest too, but in doing so make things so convoluted that they will have to have a world changing event to clear up all of his errors. (Note: This was helped by Grant Morrison and Chuck Austin)

When the dust clears, Claremont, due to continued nostalgia, will ask to try Excalibur one more time as well as holding his seat on Uncanny. He will then begin writing well again.. solidifying himself as the greatest X-writer that ever lived.

I don’t know how much of that is fictional (Note: all of it), but I’d like to believe that at least the last part is true… as Uncanny X-Men took a turn for the better with this issue!

STORY!

We are post HoM, and it’s time to get ourselves situated with the new way of the world. The first is that the Office of National Emergency (O*N*E) has placed Sentinels around the X-mansion to keep track of what goes on with all uncoming and outgoing X-Folk.

Second is that Rachel needs some time off, so Marvel Girl heads home to visit the family Grey. This seems to be where our main plotline is going to be devised, as she is introduced to the entire Grey family and shown the love by Jean’s mother and father that she needs to relax and find her place. Now, Rachel has been around since the early days of Excalibur, so I’m a bit surprised she has never been introduced to her time-displaced family, but hey.. we’ll let it go. Claremont shows what we loved in him so long ago, and we see the relationship between adult and child in Rachel and Grampa Summers. By the end of the issue, you realize how important that is…

Finally, we have the new growing team of the X-Folk. Psylocke, using her sex appeal to distract the Sentinels. Nightcrawler bonding with Talia. Cannonball trying to find his place again… it’s all quite good.

If this is the new way of the X-Men and Claremont. I think I might be happy once again.

ART!

So Claremont’s plot runs a bit parallel to Chris Bachelo’s who decided to just float through work until he could finally end up right where we first fell in love with him. (Sadly Generation X is now defunct) His X-Men look better than any of his work in the past year, and the little nuances of character that help us distinguish who is who are back. Good-bye muddled character design!

On an interesting note – the layout of this issue is quite nice. I noticed that this week, for whatever reason, was filled with great page layouts. From the brief flashbacks of Rachel Grey’s journey, to Psylocke’s ‘workout’ – the book flows and reads quite nicely.

Applause all around.

OVERALL!

So now what? Claremont has Uncanny and Excalibur back, and is seemingly doing good stories again… where does that leave the reader? Hopefully, if he keeps it up, we might be looking at the next golden age of stories…

Let’s not get our hopes up though, shall we?