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Daily Dose: Good Issue of Uncanny X-Men? You Don't Say...

Reviews of 'Uncanny: X-Men' 518, 'Iron Man: Requiem,' and 'Thor' #604

Reviews of 'Uncanny: X-Men' 518, 'Iron Man: Requiem,' and 'Thor' #604

 
Uncanny X-Men 518
Written by: Matt Fraction
Penciled by: Terry Dodson 
Published by: Marvel
 
Terry Dodson's art returns to the X-Men, and I have to say that I could not be happier. No longer do my eyes have to be subjected to the porn tracing of his predecessor. I must admit, reading a comic is always easier to do when you can stomach the art- better yet when it is enjoyable.  Emma Frost is presently stuck in her diamond form after having struggled to cure the Sentry from the influence of The Void. When in her diamond form, Emma becomes isolated from her teammates (both physically and emotionally). The only way to contain 'The Void' is to remain an "Ice Queen." As usual, Fraction does extremely well writing Emma Frost-  I have not seen him write an "X" book this good in quite some time. Not only does he do a superb job with Emma's characterization, but he does a solid job in the scenes featuring ' Beast' and ' Magneto' as well. 
Whether it is Fraction's writing that has improved with this issue, or the simple fact that Terry Dodson has replaced Greg Land on the title, the story seems to move with more fluidity than it had, and for once in quite some time I actually found myself entertained reading ' Uncanny X-Men.'  This issue really explains just how powerful 'The Void' actually is, which is really clearly depicted in it's pre-emptive strike on Scott Summers. The momentum in this book remains consistent throughout which is really entertaining and ends on a high note. 
The issue ends with suspense and I found myself anticipating what will happen next. I think that this is great example of Fractions abilities as a writer. When he is not writing an abundance of different characters, and focuses primarily on telling a story with a select few characters, his writing is much clearer and better organized. The pace and overall movement of this issue is easier to read than it's predecessors. I found that the movement from scenes between Scott and Emma to those between Beast and Bobby and Magneto were really easy to read. 
4 out of 5 

 
Iron Man Requiem One Shot
Written by Matt Fraction, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, David Michelinie
Art by: Kano, Don Heck, Joe Brozowski
Published by: Marvel
  
The issue is split into three parts and is perfect for anyone who loved the first IRON MAN film, but that may not know anything about the character. This book serves as a great introduction into the character's back-story over the years and is organized rather well, predominantly due to Matt Fraction's framing sequences. 
The issue is basically a reprint of older stories dating back to both the silver and bronze ages, respectively, and consist of 'The Tales of Suspense #39' as well as 'Iron Man #44.' 
Stark questions his own origins; recounting that his life as Iron Man originally was provoked by communists in a jungle in Asia (Vietnam) rather than Middle Eastern terrorists (like we saw in the Iron Man movie,).

"My memories are becoming hallucinations. False, weird, contradictory, nonsensical, chronologically aberrant."

 The issue reinforces the fact that events which occur in the story (and in comics in general,) often reflect current events and present socio-poitical issues. The second chapter, the reprint of Iron Man #144 by David Michelinie acts as an introduction to the relationship between James Rhodes ( War Machine) and Tony Stark.
While the issue may not be vital to anyone already consistently reading Iron Man- it does add fluff to Fraction's current Iron Man title, 'The Invincible Iron Man Stark: Disassembled' which is currently out. This one shot acts as a an addition to that present story-line, but is neither necessary nor vital to your reading. 
While the comic itself is interesting and entertaining, the idea of charging so much for a reprint of two comic books is somewhat ridiculous.
2 out of 5


Thor #604: Latverian Prometheus #1 of 3
Written by: Kieron Gillen
Penciled by: Billy Tan
 
Upon discovering that her lover (Bill) had been killed by Loki, the Immortal Kelda goes to Latveria to confront Doctor Doom, who she believes knows where Loki is and who she speculates has sided with him. In a completely breathtaking scene- which showcases Doom's wrath as well as Billy Tan's jaw dropping artwork.
 The way that this scene plays out is quite simply, incredible. Gillen does an incredible job with Doom's narrative and the art of Billy Tan compliments the writing perfectly. 
The comic jumps around a bit from Latveria, to the Asgardian Camp in Latveria and then to Oklahoma, but the transitions are  smooth, making the story generally easy to follow along. The issue showcases Gillen's brilliant characterizations. The interaction between Loki and Balder is so great that even I was swayed by Loki's prowess!
I love reading Doctor Doom here and I feel that all the characters mesh well together. Billy Tan's artwork is amazing. His consistency and details throughout this book pair perfectly with the overall story's tone of mysticism and mythology.
 
While it is the first of three parts, the story relies heavily on events that occurred in previous books and does not read like the first part of a new storyline. While the synopsis in the beginning is helpful, it may be in a new reader's best interest to pick up some back issues to have a better understanding of the plot.
5 out of 5 
15 Comments
Posted by FoxxFireArt

I've actually been far from a fan of the way Fraction has handled Emma characterization. Though, I haven't read this book and there is the possibility of improvements. As an Emma fan, I don't think he has the greatest grasp on the character. I'm not saying he's 'bad', but he's far from good. He has done some nice moments here and there. Doesn't seem fair to completely dismiss his work on the character, but over all I'd give him a C, maybe a C+.
 
Speaking of the art. Dodson isn't my favorite artist. I feel the faces of women look far too similar in shapes and features. That said, he does do some good work and some interesting panels. Though even a fast food cheese burger would taste like prime rib after the utter crap we have had to suffer with the 'Grand Tracer' before him. It's a really low hurdle to jump.
 
Wow, that is called IronMan Requiem. Requiem are never really good things. Considering them are played at wakes or for the dead.
I didn't mind the moving of IronMan's origin to the Middle East. It really made it all much more relevant to a modern audience.

Posted by Media_Master

X-men and Thor sound good!

Posted by ElJuano

I agree with Foxx on this one, Fraction can do some pretty awful characterization and Emma Frost falls into this category. She's not the only one mind you! Fraction is too inconsistent for me to follow his work in group books, this one included. Thor in the other hand ! Oh yea Sweeet!!!! After the death of Bill the Brave,  Kelda looked for Loki only to meet Doom and Oh what a fateful meet it was. Can't wait for the next Ish!

Edited by Dr. Detfink

Babs, you don't like Greg Land's tracer art, creepy pasted on smiles, and his inability to draw boobs outside of two basketballs stuffed behind an "X-costume?" I agree wholeheartedly...thank goodness for Dodson who knows how to draw sequentially, consistently, and knows how to throw a curve in there. I miss his Wonder Woman covers. What was that title of that movie, "Real Women have Curves." Indeed.

 
If you look at that issue closely it wasn't exactly Doom but I think a very familiar unstoppable character from Thor Mythology doing his bidding. C'mon it's not THAT easy to deal with an asgardian let alone..well y'know. Give you a hint, he's named after a similar character with a skull and a zest for gun porn.
 
The question is, whose soul is in that armored badass to do Doom's bidding?

Posted by drawme

Yeah, Thor sounds really good.

Edited by xerox_kitty

I've stopped buying Uncanny purely because of Fractions' work.  While I can't comment on how well this latest issue has been written, I know what's been happening through other people's comments.  It seems as if he's purposefully trying to unwrite what other writers have established (with the Phoenix Force, Cuckoos, etc).   
 
At the same time, I can't shake the feeling that he's about to rehash the 'Cyclops possessed by an evil spirit/character' story which was originally told back before Grant Morrison took over.  Having been possessed by Apocalypse previously, I don't want to see this happen with the Void.  The first time around, Morrison cleverly used that to make Cyclops a darker, moodier and edgy character that became popular with fans...  So do we really need to go through this again?

 
@FoxxFireArt

said:

"Speaking of the art. Dodson isn't my favorite artist. I feel the faces of women look far too similar in shapes and features. That said, he does do some good work and some interesting panels. Though even a fast food cheese burger would taste like prime rib after the utter crap we have had to suffer with the 'Grand Tracer' before him. It's a really low hurdle to jump."

It's been an extremely long time since I've enjoyed Dodson's art.  He's capable of some nice art, and generally what puts me off is the heavy inked style that Rachel Dodson uses, making all women look like they're made out of balloons. 
 
However, over the last decade he has become increasingly Adam Hughes Lite.  Especially now that he's actually using old Adam Hughes covers as inspiration for his Uncanny X-Men work.  I know a lot of people like Dodson's art, but I agree with you... how many people truly like his art, or just like it because he fills in the gaps between Greg Land's poor tracing & disproportionate body contortions.    
Moderator
Posted by GreenGriffin

Uncanny is garbage, wake me up when Kyle and Yost take over the book to make it awesome.
Posted by pixelized
@xerox-kitty said:
" I've stopped buying Uncanny purely because of Fractions' work.  While I can't comment on how well this latest issue has been written, I know what's been happening through other people's comments.  It seems as if he's purposefully trying to unwrite what other writers have established (with the Phoenix Force, Cuckoos, etc).   
 
At the same time, I can't shake the feeling that he's about to rehash the 'Cyclops possessed by an evil spirit/character' story which was originally told back before Grant Morrison took over.  Having been possessed by Apocalypse previously, I don't want to see this happen with the Void.  The first time around, Morrison cleverly used that to make Cyclops a darker, moodier and edgy character that became popular with fans...  So do we really need to go through this again?

 

And by the Shadow King in Worlds Apart.
Moderator
Posted by xerox_kitty
@pixelized: I'd forgotten about that!  Good call!
Moderator
Posted by NeoMantis
@Dr. Detfink said:
"

Babs, you don't like Greg Land's tracer art, creepy pasted on smiles, and his inability to draw boobs outside of two basketballs stuffed behind an "X-costume?" I agree wholeheartedly...

"
I'm not sure that's a fair assessment. I just picked up some Land issues to see what you were talking about and I can't say I see it. Certainly doesn't seem worse than your average comic artist to me.
Posted by Dr. Detfink
@NeoMantis:  The black and white image is a drawing by Travis Charest (Wild C.A.T.S) the color is Land. If you posted at Newsarama for the last 5-7 years, you'd know those ferocious fan-boys have image banks on which artists steal from other artists or um, can't draw...like Land.
 
Posted by CATMANEXE

Seeing Land out is a good sign of hope (Uncanny), hopefully Fraction will be next.
Note: Cant say that i think Fraction is a bad writer, just out of his element with Uncanny.
His work on Iron Man and the huge praise it gets are a testament to that factor. He's
written an " okay-dokey " issue here and there of UXM, so i wouldnt be surprised if
this ones not that bad, as youve said, but Uncanny has been a flagship book for years,
most of the time holding the top sales slot in the comic industry. It deserves better.
 
Anything Thor and Iron Man are a must read on my list, so no news there. Thanks for the
open review Babs.

Posted by Blackestnight

I'll be ordering that Uncanny comic.

Posted by NeoMantis
@Dr. Detfink: Ah, I see. Well, I'm not really familiar with Land's work but that example you posted is pretty damning.
Posted by Dr. Detfink

Yea, and for every one's own knowledge implants stay in the center, natural breasts tend to favor the side of the body when a woman is laying down. Just one of those details from live drawing. 
 
Land isn't going any where. Dodson just chips in when Land needs a little breather or is behind on an issue. For some reason Fraction doesn't mind Land.