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The Uncanny X-Men #542 Review

4

Normally, Juggernaut's powers are derived from the being known as Cyttorak; now, he's powered by 100% Serpent. There's a magical demon somewhere out there that isn't too happy about that.

The X-Men's plans to stop the Juggernaut are enacted with little success; how far is one mutant willing to go in order to match power with a demi-god?

The Good

Oh, man, do I have good things to say about this issue.

The past few issues of Uncanny X-Men have been setting up this idea that while the X-Men are facing the "Unstoppable" Juggernaut, they have a number of contingencies in place to try if their initial assault fails. Cyclops oh-so-eloquently states something to the effect that the reason they don't have a plan "B" is because they have more than 26 in total.

In this issue, we get to see these plans in action, montage-style. Since each "plan" happens in the span of one panel (narrated by a caption), it gave off the feel of a sequence in a comedy where, try as they may, the characters just can't find something that works.

"Serious" plans (like teleporting him to the sun) contrast with more over-the-top ideas (like Magneto throwing an aircraft carrier at him) and provide a little bit of light-heartedness to the whole thing. Seeing a Juggernaut whose blood has been immolated (and in turn makes everything he touches burst into flame) actually made me laugh out loud. It was a great "Crap! Crap! Crap! Abort!" moment.

I always enjoy seeing "old" mutants back in action, so seeing Avalanche lace up the boots again really made me smile. He also filled in a tricky bingo square, so woo! Also, Adam X The X-Treme makes an appearance: this may trigger nostalgia or revulsion.

Seeing Colossus' new "role" is interesting, but I know it'll be impermanent. I'm looking forward to the next issue greatly.

The Bad

I've never been a big fan of Greg land's art, and I have to continue my criticism that his art of certain characters (Illyana in particular) is horribly off-character. She looks more like a porn star/model than the (semi) sweet Russian girl I have come to be annoyed by.

I wish they would stop dancing around the "What is Emma going to do about her visions of Phoenix?" story-line and just take it somewhere. She's been getting two-three pages an issue to dither about, and it's getting a bit droning.

Colossus is slowly going turning from my favourite mutant to one that annoys me with each appearance. Whenever he is tied to Illyana, he turns into a whimpering, impotent, over-protective baby; this isn't the big galoot I know and love. Bring him back to Astonishing X-Men levels (sensitive, but bad-ass) and we'll talk.

The Verdict

I can really sum this up as a great issue, and it was set up amazingly in previous books. It's building up to something big, and with Fear Itself winding down, I look forward to see the X-Men's conflict tie up, as well. This has genuinely been one of the most entertaining tie-ins I've seen to the crossover. It would receieve a rare five stars from me if the art weren't a little tiring to look at. Buy it anyway.

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9 Comments
Posted by Sobe Cin

Thanks Matt, Enjoyed your informative review. All I have to say is I am looking forward to issue 544. I am burnt out on the X-Men. All I will read is X-Factor (Peter David is awesome) and X-Men Legacy (The return of Havok, Polaris and Marvel Girl- yay) 

Edited by hitechlolife

This would have been the best UXM book in a very long time if it wasn't for Land's art ruining it. I agree about Illiyana, if you cropped out the text she would be indistinguishable from Emma. The worst was how he drew the cytorak/colossus made the moment completely anti-climatic. It should have been such a cool thing to happen but it looked stupid.

Posted by JonesDeini
@hitechlolife said:
This would have been the best UXM book in a very long time if it wasn't for Land's art ruining it. I agree about Illiyana, if you cropped out the text she would be indistinguishable from Emma. The worst was how he drew the cytorak/colossus made the moment completely anti-climatic. It should have been such a cool thing to happen but it looked stupid.
Word, Land is a cancer to this franchise and the fact that Nick Lowe lobbied to get him to return to the books sickens me. Seriously, the fact that Daniel Acuna or Roberson could've been on this title instead absolutely sickens me. After the first issue of this arc I was wondering if Fear Itself had just murdered UXM for me, glad to see that Gillen's quality of writing is back where I know it can be. 
Posted by Fluke-buddha

It annoys me how they mislabeled Banshee as Siryn in this issue.  Granted its a little thing, but it's very indicative of why X-Books suck most of the times.  The writers just don't pay much attention to detail.  If they are going to include a character in a book at least, at least, use the correct character name.

Posted by labarith

One of the biggest benefits of this issue (and storyline), is that they seem to be well aware that there are about 200 mutants on Utopia, and that very few of them are assigned to a team, let alone get facetime in any book.  Remember Gambit had to pal around with X23 so we wouldn't forget he existed.  Some of them actually do things in this issue - which is pretty cool.  Now if only we can get some actual teams w/ rosters after schism, and them maybe a one-shot list of who is still on utopia, and if the students are actually attending class still. 
 
I digress.  Collossus/Kitty/Magik stuff happens.  Is fun.  Summer's "more than 26 plans" stuff is kind of fun.  This is the sort of event tie-in that works really, really well.  And it also illustrates Scott being a good leader, rather than some manufactured BS Schism stuff... 
 
Regarding the Phoenix stuff... if something comes out of it, it needs to come out in Generation Hope.  Given the Shaw cover, I hope it's not coming out there anytime soon. 
 
Maybe it'll be the next X-over that'll reunite things after the manufactured break.  And let's hope they get it done soon.

Posted by hitechlolife
@JonesDeini: Aw man, Lowe did what?? I was so hopeful when we got an editorial shakeup that things would change for the better. I remember a time when X-men warranted the cream of the crop.
Posted by Abriel
@JonesDeini said:
@hitechlolife said:
This would have been the best UXM book in a very long time if it wasn't for Land's art ruining it. I agree about Illiyana, if you cropped out the text she would be indistinguishable from Emma. The worst was how he drew the cytorak/colossus made the moment completely anti-climatic. It should have been such a cool thing to happen but it looked stupid.
Word, Land is a cancer to this franchise and the fact that Nick Lowe lobbied to get him to return to the books sickens me. Seriously, the fact that Daniel Acuna or Roberson could've been on this title instead absolutely sickens me. After the first issue of this arc I was wondering if Fear Itself had just murdered UXM for me, glad to see that Gillen's quality of writing is back where I know it can be. 

 
 
Land is the reason I haven't been picking up this book.  Love Gillen's writing....I love what he's been doing in Journey Into Mystery, but I won't pay for Land's art. 
 
The cover alone is enough of a turnoff.  It screams for a director to inform Piotr and Co "Um, guys?  You're supposed to be getting crushed by a giant hand....can you not look so much like you're enjoying it?"
Posted by JonesDeini
@hitechlolife
Yep, Land decided to leave the X Books, but Lowe personally reached out to him and wooed him back.
Posted by Omertalvendetta

Insert usual bitch about Land's work... seriously, I can't stand anything he touches.  I will never purchase anything with Land helming the "art".