Ah, Uncanny X-Men. This would
be the first part of "The Draco", unless of course you count
last issue's prologue, in which case it's the second part.
I love Chuck Austen. He's such a barn
door target. This week, Austen has started giving
interviews deriding all his critics as a mere minority of
trolls, and maintaining that his writing must be good because
after all, sales are up. I find this hilarious.
For one thing, Austen omits to mention that Uncanny X-Men
has had the benefit of a heavily promoted film and a 25c
issue. Curiously, he seems to feel that these played no
part in his sales increase.
Mind you, if the author of such commercial
juggernauts as The Eternal, US War Machine and
(snigger) The Call really wants to argue that his sales
reflect the quality of his writing, who am I to disagree with
Let's leave that aside. This issue
sees Austen setting up the plot threads for the six-part
storyline, and as a set-up issue, it's basically
unobjectionable. Kurt is lured off by unseen forces to
meet up with a load of rather similar looking mutants; the
Juggernaut arbitrarily decides that it's very very important
that he goes to visit Sammy Pare now; and Xavier has finally
decided that it might be a nice idea to do something about
Lorna's emotional problems. As an issue in its own
right, this is basically okay. It establishes the plot
threads, and it's kept relatively sane, with the melodramatics
The problems come more from the context.
For example, why is Xavier only now deciding that something
should be done to treat Lorna, when she's been obviously
insane from the moment she stepped through the door? It
seems as if Austen wanted to do an arc where Lorna acts
increasingly bizarrely up until the wedding where she flips -
but by pitching her as a blatant psycho from the word go, it
doesn't work. And why is the Juggernaut so desperate to
go to see Sammy now? Nothing here has changed for
several issues, but Austen wants Juggernaut to burst into a
room for dramatic effect even though there's no urgency.
If he's waited this long, he can wait until Xavier's finished
his conversation, surely.
Philip Tan's art remains inconsistent.
His seems to be trying to draw in two mutually exclusive
styles at the same time, and rather than a hybrid the result
is often an ungodly mess. You can't get away with doing
fiddly crosshatching on everyone's faces and at the same time
draw all the women with the facial proportions of a manga
cartoon; those two styles simply can't co-exist in the same
figure, let alone the same paragraph. Tan has obvious
potential but the awkwardness of his work still presents
Do I expect this story to work? No -
I expect it to suck, and suck badly. And I have my
reasons for that. In this story, Austen returns to two
of his pet themes. He has yet another group of mutants
drawn together by similarity of powers, just like the
werewolves. He has religious imagery, just like the
Church of Humanity. Austen's previous ventures with both
these themes have been, frankly, embarrassing. So the
omens are bad.
But taken purely in isolation - sure, this
is alright. So was the first part of Dominant Species,