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Redemption in Retrieval

March 10, 2010

     As Uncanny X-Men‘s long Nation X storyline continues, Magneto likewise continues to mysteriously meditate atop Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County.  Cyclops and Emma Frost investigate what he’s up to while Wolverine, Colossus, and Psylocke face off against the mysterious quintet of superpowered villains who have haunted them throughout the arc.  Their leader reveals that he used the Predator Xs and the nanomachines inside of them to learn everything that he and his team could about the X-Men just as Fantomex arrives to save the day.  Some mysterious aquatic mutant helps the Atlanteans move in to the pillar under Utopia and looks for Namor when the X-Club comes a-calling, and E.V.A. takes out the computer that’s beaming info about the X-Men into the badguys’ heads, so the battle suddenly becomes much easier.  Their leader releases a X-Gene-inhibiting toxin into the air and reveals that he and his group are working for none other than John Sublime.  Fantomex and E.V.A. spirit the X-Men away, allowing the bad guys to walk away free.  Fantomex reports in to Cyclops, and the X-Club realize what Magento’s up to: he’s bringing Shadowcat home.

     Okay, let’s put aside our glee that Shadowcat is coming home.  And the fact that John Sublime, one of the more interesting additions to the X-Men villain roster recently, is coming back.  Those things aside, this issue typifies what’s wrong with Matt Fraction’s run on this title.  For one, we have random characters being tossed around, in and out of the plot (X-Club, mysterious aquatic mutant, Sublime badguys, Fantomex).  Secondly, characters toss around big words without actually knowing what they mean (ie. Fantomex’s little spiel about the badguy leader being “psychotic,” though he displays no traits of psychosis, and sociopathic, even though socipath isn’t a term that anyone uses anymore, as well as mutagen and influenza referring to the same thing, even though they aren’t related, and Psylocke referring to a character’s thoughts as transparent, when she actually means opaque).  Oh yes, and then there’s Fantomex and badguy boss trading barbs about fake French accents.  Joy.  Thirdly, Greg Land is the artist, and everyone’s got moviestar faces and awkwardly big mouths (when they open them), and they often look like they are actually doing something other than what they’re actually doing (like that blonde woman, who totally doesn’t look like Wolverine is slashing her close to the middle of the book).  At this point, I’m over Fraction and the X-Men.  I read this book because I still care about the characters and just want to have one foot in this side of the Marvel Universe.  But Fraction manages to peak once in a blue moon, and everything else is from mediocre to bad.  And since he’s going to be staying on post-Second Coming, I’m not expecting anything good to come from this book for quite a long time.  I mean, the story’s sound enough.  If only the dialogue were written actually intelligently, and if only other characters, like actual X-Men characters (not another random band of villains) were the villains.  Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, so this is still as not compelling as ever.

Plot: 5.6      Art: 4.9      Dialogue: 3.9      Overall: 4.6

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