The X-Axis, 26 October 2003
Part 2 of 5: UNCANNY X-MEN #432

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Every so often I get e-mails asking me why I bother with the X-Axis when there are so many more interesting comics that I could be reviewing.  Titles like Uncanny X-Men make me wonder much the same thing.

This is the fourth part of "The Draco", and consists largely of Azazel and his entourage delivering exposition.  Basically, this is the issue where Austen tries to sell us on the idea that Nightcrawler's father Azazel is Satan.  Of course, this being the Marvel Universe, if Azazel wants to claim that he's Satan, he can join the queue behind at least fifty other characters who've claimed the same thing at one time or another.

Anyway, the centre point of the issue is Azazel explaining all this stuff and everyone else going "Oh gosh, no!"  The problem being that since it's been perfectly obvious for four issues that the story was heading in this direction, an entire issue of characters explaining it doesn't make for very entertaining reading.  In fairness, Austen does produce a fairly plausible explanation of how Kurt ended up with Margali Szardos, but that's about as far as it goes.

Over in the subplots, Polaris... oh no, hold on, she's not in this issue at all.  Got to make room for that exposition.  Meanwhile, the Juggernaut goes to Canada to visit Sammy Pare, as we get another few pages hammering home the same idea that Sammy has an abusive father.  Since nothing of the sort was mentioned until this storyline, mind you, I suppose Austen feels the need to stress it.  Everyone panics, Alpha Flight turn up.  Sasquatch is now wearing body armour, which is the stupidest thing I've seen in years.

Basically, it's the usual vacant nonsense we've come to expect from this title.

Philip Tan's art remains alarmingly inconsistent.  It's now started to sprout individual panels of computer-coloured art, which look ludicrously out of place next to the fiddly little cross-hatching in every other panel.  Oh, and four issues into the storyline, somebody finally confirms in dialogue that the character nobody can recognise is meant to be Abyss.  Would have been handy to make that clear earlier, wouldn't it?

It's a bad comic.  But does anyone expect better these days?

Rating: C-

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Copyright 2003 Paul O'Brien.  This web site is a work of critical comment and review. All characters and publications referred to, and artwork reproduced, are ™ and © their respective owners.

Marvel Comics
December 2003
$2.25 US / $3.75 CAN

"The Draco,
part IV of VI"
Writer: Chuck Austen
Artist: Philip Tan
Letterer: Russ Wooton
Colourists: Avalon Studios
Editor: Mike Marts

Marvel Comics
Avalon Studios