Okay, you really didn’t think that a cover like this one could be 100% accurate without like a seven month long mega tie-in lead-up, did you? Well, no, that particular image doesn’t necessarily grace the interiors of this issue, but, like so much of his run on “Uncanny X-Men”, Matt Fraction opts to cater to the little events instead of the big summery ones.
When we left the Sisterhood and the X-Men, both were frantically headed toward the remains of Jean Grey. Being the end of this storyline (and in just about a year of previous set-up) there’s quite a bit of conflict. But probably most significantly, Fraction writes the most badass Dazzler scene since she kept poor weightless Longshot from getting sucked into an Australian wind storm in nothing but his underpants. And Dazzler isn’t the only “character actor” X-Man getting great moments. Domino pretty much singlehandedly takes on the entire Sisterhood who, if we recall, pretty much demolished the entire team not too long ago. But as much care and attention Fraction lavishes on the smaller roles, the big guns are also very well represented. Logan and Scott endure a very understated but understandable friction throughout the issue, and Emma puts aside the psychic warfare for some straightforward tussling.
Artist Greg Land’s work is a bit more uneven. While capable of truly impressive moments (see: Storm turning the Sisterhood’s downtown hideout into a Car Wash), he also has panels on display that probably could have used a bit more detail (although colorist Justin Posnor does a great job of keeping your eyes occupied). The brief epilogue drawn by Terry and Rachel Dodson only serve to highlight the disparity, as their work has all the weight and emotive detail that Land’s can sometimes lack. They are two different art styles, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean one has to be quite so vague at times.
This issue concludes the Sisterhood storyline in the same tone Fraction’s run has carried pretty much since he landed on the book next to Ed Brubaker. Fractured enough to keep tabs on rotating and well-balanced cast, kinetic when the fighting starts, and disarmingly poignant when it needs to be. Fraction writes the X-Men like human beings first and foremost. You might be forgiven for forgetting that once upon a time Scott Summers was actually married to Madelyne Pryor and that this isn’t merely a shell for a malevolent enemy. At the close of this story, though, Fraction reminds us, as Cyclops takes a moment to deal with this sudden exhumation of two failed relationships. The X-Men, over its decades of varied stewardship, has always been a soap opera first, but in many ways, Fraction has taken that foundation and pushed it from early afternoon broadcasting for housewives into a more subtle, grown-up, 10:00 PM timeslot.