A Jerky Rant: The main problem with Uncanny X-Men, and this is common in mainstream titles, is its lack of freedom. Matt Fraction has ambitiously made Uncanny X-Men the flagship X-Book (That Astonishing thing never ships, anyway). Every mutant problem in the Marvel U is here. Every problem in the X-Books is here. I wouldn’t be surprised if all 198 mutants make an appearance by issue #515. Just about thirty mutants are in this issue alone. Thankfully, Fraction provides humorous introduction captions to help our brain. My favorite caption: “Karma. Psychic Possession. Wasn’t crazy for the wrap-up of Battlestar.” Anyway, with so much material to cover, the plot barely moves forward. If comics weren’t episodic in nature, I probably wouldn’t complain. But they are, so I do.
The Fun Stuff: While some of Fractions ambitions misfire, others shoot me in the chest, but in a good way. Though the team’s newfound, San Franciscan liberal agenda is forced at times, there are moments when it’s quite charming. Seeing a panel of a nude woman in Karma’s bed or Northstar’s cracks about “being your mutant queer mascot” are brief, but appreciated details. In fact, as I mentioned above, Fraction gets a little too detailed. At least it’s all handled well.
The Plot and the Hook: This mysterious Red Queen and her Sisterhood have been plotting for over ten issues. Sadly, there’s still a lot we don’t know even after this issue. I can say though, it’s mighty intriguing. A certain character goes back to the way they used to be, and I’ll leave it at that. Overall, this is a captivating and enjoyable opening chapter, and Greg Land, even in all his porn-swiping glory, provides some pretty pictures.