Friday, February 09, 2007

Comic Book Review: Uncanny X-Men #483

The Revolution just hasn’t been able to get into this current story arc. That is not because Brubaker has done a bad job. No, it is a “me problem” since I just am a little burned out on storylines involving the Shi’ar and anything related to the Phoenix. It has too much of a re-tread feel for me. Anyway, I’m sure that Uncanny X-Men #483 will be a solid read. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer
: Ed Brubaker
Penciler: Clayton Henry
Inker: Mark Morales

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with The Great D’Ken making an appearance before his supporters. He is flanked by Deathbird and Vulcan. Vulcan thinks how just days ago he wanted to kill D’Ken with his own hands. But, so many things in his life have changed.

We then flashback to Vulcan and Deathbird battling their way out of the prison moon. They fight their way through the guards and steal a space shuttle and take off. After they make their escape, Vulcan asks Deathbird to tell him about this secret society that wanted him to free her. Deathbird responds that it is time to wage war on the Shi’ar. Just the two of them.

We cut to scenes of Deathbird and Vulcan wreaking havoc on the Shi’ar forces. The two are kindred spirits. They share exhilaration, destruction and passion with each other. We shift to seeing Deathbird and Vulcan in bed having some hot sex. Vulcan thinks how life in these weeks has been unlike anything he has ever experienced.

We then shift to Vulcan and Deathbird meeting with Araki. Deathbird asks Araki if her brother, D’Ken has recovered. Vulcan is pissed. Vulcan thought Deathbird wanted to be Empress again. Deathbird responds that she has lost her taste for ruling. Araki then interjects that Vulcan is the son of Corsair and cannot be allowed any further. Deathbird states that Vulcan is her companion and he goes where ever she goes.

Vulcan says that no one could stop him from getting to D’Ken. Deathbird tells Vulcan to calm down. That what is past is past. That he is with her now. Deathbird asks if Vulcan has learned anything by being with her. That he should put aside his wraith. That bigger things are at stake. Vulcan says that he will try to do so for Deathbird’s sake.

The three then enter D’Ken’s chamber. D’Ken is lying on a bed. Araki says that the best telepaths that the Empire had to choose from are all catatonic. That limited contact with D’Ken’s thoughts was enough to drive most of the psychics insane. That they have spent years trying to knit together D’Ken’s mind back together after his exposure to the M’Krann Crystal.

Araki says that the telepaths cured D’Ken to a degree. That his mind is calm and his brain patterns are nearly normal. However, the three divisions of his mind cannot communicate. That their connections have been severed.

Vulcan asks if the neural pathways are constructed of electrical impulses. Araki says yes. Vulcan responds that he can re-establish the connections and heal D’Ken’s mind. Araki tells Deathbird that they can’t trust Vulcan. That he wants to kill D’Ken. Deathbird trusts Vulcan and tells him to do it. With that, Vulcan repairs D’Ken’s mind and D’Ken wakes up.

Vulcan tells Deathbird that he will kill D’Ken one day. Deathbird responds that he won’t. That she will tame him of those urges. That he will let the past be the past. Araki is then alerted that an entire battalion is advancing towards their position. Araki says that it appears that it is time for their secret order to emerge from the shadows. Araki orders his troops to attack the advancing Shi’ar battalion.

We cut to Deathbird, Vulcan and D’Ken’s soldiers battling the Shi’ar troops. Vulcan realizing he is witnessing a major split among the Shi’ar. Much like when Caesar crossed the Rubicon to claim what was his during the Roman Empire. D’Ken is moving to restore the Shi’ar Empire to its old ways.

We shift to Deathbird, Vulcan and D’Ken on D’Ken’s throne ship. D’Ken asks Deathbird to allow him a moment with Vulcan in private. D’Ken tells Vulcan that Araki mentioned the two of them have a history. D’Ken says that his memories are still hazy. D’Ken doesn’t remember Vulcan’s birth. Vulcan angrily exclaims that if Vulcan is looking to appease him then referring to his mother’s death as his “birth” is not the way to go.

D’Ken responds that he is not looking to appease Vulcan. That everything Vulcan is today he owes to D’Ken. But, D’Ken has a debt to Vulcan and he means to repay it by using an arcane Shi’ar law. That any child born in the High Palace on Chandillar may rise to become royalty. That Deathbird clearly loves Vulcan and he is incredibly powerful so D’Ken would rather have Vulcan at his side rather than his back.

D’Ken asks Vulcan to wed his sister, Deathbird and to join the Imperium as they rise once more. End of issue.

Comments
The Good
: Uncanny X-Men #483 is average at best. Technically, Brubaker delivers a solidly written issue. There is no doubt that Brubaker knows how to plot and execute a storyline. There is also no doubt that Brubaker knows how to write solid dialogue. And Uncanny X-Men #483 possesses all of these traits, but it just misses the mark with me.

Brubaker does provide the reader with plenty of good action. Vulcan and Deathbird create an impressive team that may be more than the X-Men can handle. The revival of The Great D’Ken was an interesting move. I certainly never thought that Vulcan would be the person responsible for healing D’Ken and brining him back to life. That was a real surprise.

I’m glad that Deathbird no longer desires to be Empress of the Shi’ar. That would have been a terrible re-tread plotline if Brubaker had taken Deathbird down that road once again. Instead, using Deathbird as a device to control Vulcan and use his power to help place her brother back in control of the Shi’ar is a much better idea.

Clayton Henry does a solid job with the artwork. Clayton Henry is a bit inconsistent with some panels looking great while others look awkward and below average. I still dig the overall look of the art.

The Bad: Wow, I mean, talk about being pussy whipped. Not hanging out with your boys anymore or dressing a different way is one thing, but not killing the man who KILLED your mom and ripped you out of her womb, artificially accelerated your growth so you were robbed of a childhood and then had you put into slavery? Dude, that takes pussy whipped to an all new level.

It just isn’t believable. Brubaker failed to get me to buy into this at all. Vulcan has been this pure engine of destruction bent on decimating the entire Shi’ar Empire and killing D’Ken. For him to suddenly be marrying D’Ken’s daughter and helping D’Ken assume the throne and build a new Shi’ar Empire makes no sense.

Vulcan is a character that Brubaker has spent all his time showing how much he hates the Shi’ar and D’Ken. That this hate is pretty much his entire purpose in life. I’ll give Brubaker the benefit of the doubt and see where he is going with this plotline. Maybe he has something in store that will make this turn in Vulcan’s character more interesting and make more sense.

Uncanny X-Men #483 was just an uninspired read. Of course, I will readily admit that it very well may just be me. I simply don’t find Deathbird’s character even remotely interesting. Plus, I’m pretty over the Shi’ar in general. I found Deathbird and Vulcan’s relationship to be generic and rather dull. Brubaker has failed to create any chemistry at all between Deathbird and Vulcan.

I just found Uncanny X-Men #483 to be a rather lackluster read. Technically, Brubaker delivers a sound issue. It is well plotted and structured. It moves at a nice pace and has a clear direction and purpose. The dialogue is fine. Yet, it just seems to be missing something. This issue simply has no soul.

What is really surprising is the lack of emotion and intensity that Brubaker normally brings to any issue he writes. Daredevil, Captain America and Iron Fist all are done with such passion and power. Brubaker’s writing is a true work of art and strikes at the emotional core of the reader.

All of that is completely lacking on Brubaker’s Uncanny X-Men. It seems as if Brubaker is just mechanically going through the motions and collecting a pay check on this title. It is quite possible that Brubaker is like Bendis and is simply not suited for a big name team comic book.

Overall: Uncanny X-Men #483 was an average issue. Brubaker constructs a technically sound issue and Tan provides for some above average artwork. If you enjoy the Shi’ar and the Phoenix then you will certainly enjoy this story arc. Uncanny X-Men is certainly better than it was before Brubaker took control of the writing duties. However, it still has a way to go before I consider it an excellent read.

2 comments:

Stephan Schroeder said...

Please double check the credits because I don't think Billy Tan did the pencils.

I am a little behind reading this title, but, at least until I have caught up and feel I am missing something important, I have skipped buying the issues without Tan.

Crain's issues do not look that different, but without appearances by Xavier and his X-team I can rationalize passing on them and saving $3.

Rokk Krinn said...

Hey, Stephen. You are correct. I edited the art team. It is Clayton Henry and Mark Morales.

I can't blame you for skipping this issue. You certainly didn't miss anything.