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The Future of Mutantkind

August 5, 2010

With Second Coming now behind us, Uncanny X-Men #526 begins the X-Men’s entry into the Heroic Age and a brave new world.  One with new mutants.  But something’s wrong with their mutations, as we see with the first one, a top student in Vancouver.  She’s losing her hair, and she has blue splotches on her face.  Iceman and Angel aren’t exactly having a good time listening to her scream and freak out.  Hope gets ready to go to Alaska, but having been raised in a dystopian future, she’s a tad over-prepared.  She goes with Rogue, Cypher, and Dr. Nemesis to investigate her family while Cyclops goes to Japan to mend fences with Wolverine and watch one of the other lights, and Emma Frost goes out to dinner with Tony Stark.  Cypher finds the cemetery where all of the people killed during the Cooperstown Massacre, Hope’s mom included, are buried.  Hope feels like she’s responsible, but Rogue tells her that the only thing she’s guilty of his being born.  The next day, Hope goes to leave flowers at her mom’s grave.  Instead, she bumps into her grandmother.  Dr. Kavita Rao tries to explain to Colossus that Shadowcat has forgotten how to un-phase, and that’s why she can’t speak or do much.  Hope chats with her grandmother, not revealing who she really is, and learns about her mother, who like her, looks like Jean Grey.  Feeling better, she and her group head off when suddenly Cyclops gets news that the girl in Vancouver is losing it.  Hope’s group heads over to Vancouver just in time for the girl to further freak out and jump off a building.  Hope manages to grab her in midair, and she jumpstarts the girl’s powers, fully transforming her into a blue girl who can fly.  The girl is just amazed and swears she’ll follow Hope, introducing herself as Laurie.  And Hope is ready to help the next person.  Then, in a backup, Magneto, while reluctantly resting from his injuries, learns about the Young Avengers and his possible grandchildren from Dr. Nemesis.  He tries to find out about them from Cyclops, but Wolverine swears he’ll never touch them, despite his attempt at redemption.  Magneto finds a box with pictures of his kids and compares them to those of Wiccan and Speed.  Then, he tells Cyclops that he has nothing to worry.  While grinning.

Okay, so I’ll admit that this was an interesting issue.  For one, it’s beginning to show us Hope’s origins at long last.  It’s a tad too coincidental that her mother also happens to look just like Jean Grey.  Could this have been a seed Jean planted a long time ago?  And poor Laurie.  Having your powers first manifest is a very traumatic experience for a lot of mutants.  But the way that things seem to be manifesting for this new batch is… different.  As Cyclops says, there’s something different about this new group.  Is that good, or bad?  And dangerous?  I don’t know, but Matt Fraction is doing a good job making this interesting.  I am still having trouble getting to like Hope, and that doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon.  I just don’t feel like anyone’s tried to make her truly sympathetic, aside from making us feel bad that her surrogate father, Cable, died.  But the plot that’s getting weaved around her is inherently interesting.  I’m not sure I’m going to buy the new Generation Hope book, but I’m sure that the most important threads of that series will still be explained in Uncanny, since the latter is the flagship title of the X-Men line.  Unfortunately, Whilce Portacio’s art is just ugly.  His hair looks stringy and crazy, and his faces are absolutely freaky looking.  That one panel when Laurie is spitting while crying… blech.  I know this title needed a new artist, but he’s not exactly what I had in mind.  Faces are the most important part of comic book drawing, and he’s just not good at those.  Allan Heinberg and Olivier Coipel’s Magneto-centric backup is very interesting.  It’s a nice bridge between Second Coming and Magneto’s involvement in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade.  For one, Heinberg’s characterization is sharper than Fraction’s tends to be, and Coipel’s art is just beautiful.  Even if he does switch Colossus’ broken arm.  This kind of made me wish that they were the creative team on this series.  Anyway, Uncanny X-Men did just get a nice breath of fresh air.  It’s not quite as strong as I would have liked, but there’s hope (haha) for this series yet.

Plot: 8.4      Art: 6.9      Dialogue: 8.8      Overall: 8.2

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