Monday, October 24, 2011

Uncanny X-Men #544

This is the final issue of Uncanny X-Men (well, not really, but let's pretend).

The old "relaunch with a new #1" bit has become standard procedure as a way to boost sales and reader interest (DC's "New 52" being the ultimate example), so it's no surprise to see Marvel "pulling the plug" on its oldest continually-numbered-and-never- renumbered-until-now title.

There is a slight danger in starting over, of course. What makes a good jumping-on point for some also makes a good jumping-off point for others. Like me, for instance.

I've followed the X-Men virtually since the beginning. I think issue #5 was my first issue - or was it #3? I've followed it through the high points (Lee and Kirby, Thomas and Adams, Claremont and Cockrum and Byrne and Smith and Lee, Whedon and Cassaday, and there are others I'm forgetting). I've followed it through the low points (they are legion).

But aside from a few stories here are there in the past several years, this is a series that has been coasting on its reputation. Once the best comic in the industry, it's become a victim of its own success - so instead of one really incredible X-Men comic every month, we have dozens of X-Family comics.

It waters down the brand and leaves the franchise, well, dull. For quite a few years I've only been buying the flagship title and an occasional tie-in that looks interesting (right now I'm enjoying the Uncanny X-Force, for example).

But with the new #1, I've been seriously considering dropping the title. I probably won't decide until I see the issue at the comics shop - I'll give it a quick look and decide if I want to start over.

Right now, I'm on the fence - I hate to give up a title I've followed so long, but it feels like it might be the right time.

Oh, I haven't reviewed this final issue, have I? Nice, low-key wrap-up with some nice tips of the hat to the original concept and the first issue. Excellent art and a killer double-page splash that flashes back on the team's history. Makes Cyclops look like a jerk. Story by Kieron Gillen and art by Greg Land and Jay Leisten.

Is it the end or a new beginning for me? Stay tuned...

Grade: B



Kyle said...

Wow Chuck, it amazes me that you have been collecting X-men that long...I've been into and out of comics so many times I've never been able to generate that kind of consistancy. I think the longest I've been able to stick on a title has been about 4 years or so...

Chuck said...

What can I tell you? I'm stubborn as a mule. It is amazing to realize I've been reading comics for more than 50 years. Also scary to realize that Superman's first appearance, which seems like the Stone Age, was only 23 years before that. Getting old - it's not for the faint of heart!