Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Uncanny X-Men: Manifest Destiny TPB

I usually save my comments on art until the last paragraph of my reviews, but in this case, my thoughts are so intertwined with my feelings about the art, I'm just mixing it all up right now.

Sometimes the art can elevate a project, making me more interested than I would have been otherwise. Greg Land's art on the Ultimate Power trade made me enjoy the final product more, since I had almost no interest in what happened to characters in the Ultimate universe. Then there are times when I find myself actually disengaged from a story due to the art. Like in this trade, where Greg Land's obvious tracing of adult stars makes women of every age and emotional state look like they're about to get hit with something. I mean, come on. In every other story about Pixie, she's a cute, earnest character who looks like a fairy. In this trade, she looks like a movie star taking great pleasure in her work. GREAT pleasure. These problems aren't even limited to the ladies. Cyclops looks absolutely ridiculous with his girly hair. Heck, I think I caught him and Angel doing the "Blue Steel" look from Zoolander.

It doesn't help that Matt Fraction is encouraging him. White Queen is way too trampy. I mean, I know what the character is like, but having Land draw her parading about in expensive underwear is like handing a criminal a loaded gun.

The frustrating thing is there are a lot of good ideas here. I love the concept that the X-Men are using Angel's fortune to make a fresh start in the accepting city of San Francisco. The X-Men as celebrities is a nice twist too. And was very amused at the Beast's heroic attempts to make the new HQ as "green" as possible. Those are all nice little updates to the mythos, and they work well. The first story is fun too, with an artificially powered Magneto animating some Sentinels and setting them loose on the X-Men. Terry Dodson handles some of these sequences and they look great. One of my favorite silly Marvel fixtures shows up, the High Evolutionary and he looks good too. Fraction's idea that the X-Men are one big army of mutants is a neat one, at one point when the main team can't take down a souped up Empath, Beast calls in the New Mutants as backup. There isn't really a reason the team wouldn't use the best options for each mission, so I like the scope creep of having any mutant pop up at any time.

The backups are from a variety of creative teams, and so they are of all different levels of quality. I'm a little bummed at the Colossus story. He used to be one of my favorite characters due to his powers, look, and personality, but now he's the sad sack of the X-Men. I know the guy has been through a lot, but it is hard to like him these days. I'd say coolness wise, Wolverine and Nightcrawler are stealing the show. And Pixie's personality does make her pretty likeable too.
I've already bought the next 2 or 3 Uncanny X-Men trades, so I'm hoping they are better than this one. I had high hopes but this ended up being fairly average. More classic art and this could have could have been a solid "Good."



jbaker said...

I totally agree. After a while, Greg Land's art gave me a headache. And Matt Fraction's writing was a slow burn (which seems to be the case with all his work). Had it not been for the "Sisterhood" arc I woulda dropped this book. It's just not as engaging as the other main line X-titles. Let's see what happens at the end of Nation X.

Timbotron said...

Sisterhood is my next trade, I think. When does Terry Dodson take over on art?

jbaker8 said...

I guess Land and Dodson switch off. Dodson did the 514 issue of "Sisterhood" and "Utopia", but Land's doing the "Nation X".