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A Mutants' World

January 3, 2010

     With the movie to the island of Utopia, the Uncanny X-Men now have a host of new problems to deal with.  Because nothing can ever be easy for mutants.  A mysterious group of super-powered individuals attack Scalphunter to get him to do some sort of errand for them.  Dr. Takiguchi Yuriko, the sad man with a woman’s name, passes away, and the leading council, comprised of Cyclops, Emma Frost, Storm, Namor, Iceman, Beast, and Professor Xavier, try to figure out how they’re going to manage living on Utopia.  Danger gets put in charge of keeping an eye on the X-Men’s prisoners, and Takiguchi is put to rest.  And suddenly, Magneto, his powers restored by the High Evolutionary, shows up, full of humility and ready to bow down to the new leader of the mutant race, Cyclops.  Of course, Xavier isn’t too happy about it, but Cyclops doesn’t care.  Scalphunter shows up with a bunch of Predator Xs in a plane and dumps them on Utopia, and Namor, Magneto, Iceman, Colossus, Boom Boom, Wolverine, Northstar, Madison Jeffries, Storm, Cyclops, and Warpath take them out.  Rogue even finishes one off entirely on her own, borring the powers of a bunch of the younger X-Men.  Scalphunter even randomly kills the last one, shortly after the Phoenix Force abandons the Three-in-One.  (Link to War of Kings?)

     The Predator X’s were modified somehow, and Danger tries to find out why Scalphunter brought them to Utopia.  One Predator X is still alive, running around the sewers of San Francisco.  Emma isn’t feeling terribly emotional, due to having to stay in diamond form to keep the Void in check.  Psylocke, Professor X, and Cyclops decide to attempt to get the Void out of Emma, and the X-Club inform Magneto that Utopia is sinking, and they don’t know what to do.  Magneto offers to help, but his power isn’t enough to keep it afloat.  He asks for Namor’s help in exchange for giving a place for the Atlanteans to stay.  In Emma’s psyche, Cyclops gets attacked by the Void until it leaps into his mind.  Emma jumps into his mind after him, but he ultimately tells her to leave and let him handle it.  He manages to use the training he got from being the boyfriend of Jean Grey to lock the Void in a corner of his mind.  However, after talking with Iceman, Beast has finally had enough of the way Cyclops and Emma have been running things and decides to leave the island.

     Well, this is WAY too much going on at once.  Let’s see, the various plot points of this massive arc, Nation X, are: the Void, the sinking island, Beast’s disillusionment, and the random new superhumans.  Then there’s all the smaller story threads, including Magneto’s and Namor’s alliance, Magneto’s reasons for coming to Utopia, Takiguchi’s death, and so on.  Again, way too much.  Thus far, the whole arc has been random hops between plotlines aside from the one, sustained period of narration from when Magneto arrived on the island.  And I cannot figure out what this arc is really about.  I mean, it’s supposed to be about the move to Utopia, but there’s just too much going on.  Then there’s the inconsistency in the psychic battle with the Void, where in one minute Cyclops is unaware that perception affects reality in the mind, and the next he can trap the Void in a box reserved for all his dirty thoughts about Jean.  Huh?  I mean, some of the plot points are interesting, especially why Magneto is there.  But the addition of a new supervillain team when the X-Men have a plethora of pre-existing, far more interesting enemies to face makes me wonder about Matt Fraction’s choice.  Actually, I’ve been wondering about all of Matt Fraction’s choices for this arc.  As I said before, much of Fraction’s run will now hinge on the question of how well he can use the move to Utopia, and he isn’t using it very well.  Terry Dodson’s art is also weaker now, with Dr. Nemesis and Cyclops occasionally having so many wrinkles that they look like old men, and Greg Land’s art is… well, it’s Greg Land.  Same as always, just with a tiny bit less pornface.  Honestly, I think the X-Men need a new writer.  Fraction’s had his chance to show his ideas, and they haven’t been very good.  With the big story, Second Coming, on the horizon, I just hope that 1) Fraction isn’t the main writer for the it, and 2) the franchise gets a new person at the helm afterwards.

Plot: 6.1      Art: 5.2 (Land), 8.5 (Dodson)      Dialogue: 8.3      Overall: 6.3

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