Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Uncanny X-Men #507

For the past couple of years, the X-Men have been - it seems to me - somewhat out of sorts.

Which is to say, the comics have been moving in so many different directions, with assorted mini-series, spin-offs and myriad other projects, that there hasn't been any sense of cohesion.

It's the "too much success" problem that plagues several superhero franchises. Once a character or team become popular, the company decides to cash in and place that character in as many books as possible. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? Wolverine? Spider-Man? Batman? Superman? Avengers? Of course you do.

Certainly it's weighing down the X-books - which is why the best mutant-related comic in recent years was The Astonishing X-Men, which was mostly self-contained and off in its own little corner of the Marvel Universe.

You get the sense that writer Matt Fraction and artists Terry and Rachel Dodson are trying to follow the same tact in Uncanny X-Men, as they set their focus on a limited number of characters.

This issue is a tidy bit of work, as it wraps up some ongoing stories, puts some plots in place for future issues, and shows a surprising new side to one long-running character. And it features a lot of outstanding art along the way.

I'm not quite ready to say that "the X-Men are back" - but the book is definitely moving rapidly in the right direction. And that's a very good thing, indeed.

Grade: B+

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