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Marvel's Mutants Gains New Penciler
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Image Rocks Out With Shangri-La
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Marvel Teams Up For A Good Cause
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Marvel Unveils '04 FF Plans
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2F2F DVD Contest
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Comic Review:
Uncanny X-Men #422
By Matt Martin


Marvel Comics – Chuck Austen (w); Ron Garney (p); Mark Morales (i)

When I looked at Diamond’s ship list for this week, I noticed that this issue of Uncanny X-Men had a considerable jump in price (up from $2.25 to $3.50). I thought to myself, “I wonder why that is…” I picked the book up off the shelf on Wednesday and realized that it contains quite a few more pages than the average issue. Promising enough, I suppose. Sadly, after having read it, I’m still not closer to know why it is that Marvel produced this issue the way they did.

Basically, what we have here is two issues crammed into one. And it doesn’t really work that well.

Article continued below advertisement

There are around four different plotlines running through this issue. In the Bermuda Triangle, Havok, Nightcrawler and Polaris accompany Havok’s mentor to an archaeological dig that has uncovered the possibility that a mutant society existed and died out long before the advent of the first human civilization. Juggernaut and Sammy (otherwise known as “the fish-faced new kid”) play catch in the backyard of the mansion and manfully discuss which X-woman is the best looking. Archangel finds that former prostitute Stacy X has unexpectedly left the mansion, apparently as the result of being sexually rejected by both Warren and Nightcrawler; naturally, she leaves behind a video of herself jumping rope in the nude. Then, carried over from the last panel of the previous issue, Alpha Flight returns unheralded to the world of Marvel Comics and attempts to take custody of every single child in Xavier’s care.

Basically, the four threads summarized above comprise the first half of the issue. The second half is consumed by Juggernaut punching nearly every member of Alpha Flight until they stop moving and Northstar doing his best Flash impression on the rest. Then there’s an obligatory unhappy ending that follows the fashionable X-trend of an X-man questioning the Professor’s dream of peace between mutants and humans.

Sound much like a soap opera? Me too. Too damned much like a soap opera.

Amusingly, this issue provides more fuel for my theory that the X-Men are simply the pretty mutants of the Marvel universe. It’s always amused me that the world apparently hates and fears a team of attractive, generally normal-looking, superheroes. What, exactly, separates the X-Men, in the minds of your average Marvel Universe human, from the Avengers except for the letter “x” all over their costumes? Nothing, as near as I can tell. And this issue furthers that idea by removing the two less attractive mutants of the book, Stacy X (who has scales all over body) and Sammy (the aforementioned fish-faced child).

In the end, I was initially happy to see that the issue wasn’t entirely devoted to talking and developing even more subplots. At the same time, this issue essentially asks you to overpay for the usual amount of angst, plus some pointless fisticuffs. But really, I’m probably tilting at windmills here, since X-Men fans will probably enjoy it anyway and the rest of the comics world will more than likely continue to ignore it.

Final Score: 2.5/5


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