Review: Uncanny X-Men #5 By Kieron Gillen And Greg Land

Uncanny X-Men #5

Written by Kieron Gillen

Art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Justin Ponsor, Laura Martin, and Guru eFX



The short of it:


The Dark Angel Saga has come back to bite Psylocke in the ass. Flexibile timelines place this story the day after all the shit hit the fan in that book, which would put this issue simultaneous with X-Force #19 and last weeks Wolverine and the X-Men. Of course, Wolverine didn’t tell Cyclops that X-Force was still a thing, so Scott has to draw his own conclusions. A little planning sends the Extinction Team in to rescue people and contain creatures from Archangel’s newly evolved world. Psylocke tags along because Emma lost an arm. Scott presumes Sinister of Celestials, Betsy tries to tell him he’s wrong without telling him she was there and can easily be blamed for all of it. The team splits up into…teams and goes about their journeys. Some bad flirting, bad jokes, and an awesome Magneto moment later we find ourselves in store for a big fight next issue!


What I liked:


  • I continue to enjoy Gillen’s work with Cyclops. Scott is a great leader, and he comes across as one. Despite the upcoming Avengers vs X-Men, he has a discussion with Captain America in this issue and feels like their sitting at the same table, which is how it should be. Scott’s confidence and competence are what make him who he is, and he’s far and away the best part of this book. Still.
  • Following up the Dark Angel Saga is a ballsy move, especially since that kind of high concept incident tends to wind up swept under rugs and not the principle plot point of ‘parent’ books. This is why I love the current X-line of titles, you have the right creators in place to fully take advantage of stuff like this. Remender’s awesome Dark Angel Saga is getting followed up in four books, and he only writes one of them!
  • I could get used to Gillen using Psylocke, as I already prefer her presence to Emma’s here. Her powers are more fun, and she plays well off of the rest of the team.
  • Colossus’s assumed descent into darkness is pretty cool. He’s the one assuming it, obviously, and the fact that he’s the Juggernaut doesn’t exactly prove him wrong, but the fact that he has the poets soul is continuing to make the line a difficult one to fully cross. I can’t imagine him ever fully breaking, but to see how far he can tumble while still retaining that core personality is going to be intriguing.
  • Magneto completely owns Psylocke and it is awesome. I’m not sure why he knows about X-Force, but the verbal bitch slap he gives her is just freaking awesome. Best part of the entire issue.


What I didn’t like:


  • So why is Hope all over Namor? I mean it’s pretty creepy how into him she is. That alone should tell you the problem, since it should be how into someone Namor is that’s creepy. Half of her dialog in this issue is hitting on Namor. Literally.
  • Maybe it’s Greg Land’s art, but a lot of people feel horribly out of character. The women do nothing but smile. Illyana, Hope, Storm, and Psylocke, they’re constantly smiling. The girl with half of a soul is in an awesome mood. Hope looks to get it on, while Storm is having an awesome awesome day. Hell, the only time one of them stops grinning is so Psylocke can make porn star faces. I hadn’t missed Greg Land’s work, and it had not been long enough for me to forget why. Why is he getting work? Can’t they find someone who’s quick without using a hodge-podge of traces that they try to pass off as original art?
  • And on top of that, three colorists? That makes the Land art look even worse!
  • I understand the whole black ops nature of X-Force, but really, Wolverine took Genesis and Angel to his school, but nobody bothers to tell anyone why there’s a dead city in Montanna replaced with an overly evolved section of land?
  • For the most part this issue was just boring.


Final thoughts:


I don’t want to call this the worst issue of Uncanny that Gillen has written, but looking at all he’s done…yeah, this is the worst. He abandoned characterization for several characters, I’m still not sure how Emma’s getting her arm back, and despite the strength of his handling of Psylocke it feels wasted here. Maybe it’s just that nothing really happened, or maybe it’s that the art made everyone look like the world was awesome during a fight with monsters the likes of which they’d never seen before.


The usage of the controlled evolutionary area Archangel created is great, I mean, it was ready made to have future stories told there if a writer wanted to test the waters, and Gillen did just that. The atmosphere isn’t as creepy as it was in X-Force, but then again, there’s no Apocalypse or planned slaughter of enemies.


I don’t know how Magneto found out about X-Force, maybe I’m just forgetting something, but his verbal tearing apart of Psylocke was the best part of the issue. Anytime Magneto can take the moral high ground over someone you know you have a winning situation. For as many terrible things as he’s done in his day, he never sat back and sent out black ops hit squads to get it done. He always made it clear that he was the source.


Greg Land keeps getting work at Marvel and I can’t imagine it’s for any reason other than quick turnaround on art. He was a capable artist years ago, and I did like his work on Nightwing and Birds of Prey, but his Marvel work is just tracing the same things over and over again. Every female looks exactly the same as every other female he’s drawn, and the men all have action movie poses for everything. Hope looks like a 20 something ho in this issue. Psylocke looks like a porn star. Going from Pacheco to this is just….I’m dreading Avenging Spider-Man next month with Land replacing Joe Mad. People complain about Rob Liefeld, but at least Liefeld sits down and draws everything.


So is Cyclops going to find out about X-Force? Because I would love to see him go beat the shit out of Wolverine again over this.


Overall: 5/10

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