With a virtually unlimited cast these days, it’s safe to say that “Uncanny X-Men” has a lot of stories going on simultaneously. What I find myself enjoying more and more is that Matt Fraction has proven he knows how to juggle them all. Take the latest issue, by way of example. It directly follows on from last month’s events, with the Stepford Cuckoos temporarily out of commission and Cyclops needing to do something to restore Emma Frost’s telepathy. So at the foreground, the issue is all about picking up this piece of story from the “Dark Avengers/X-Men” crossover and taking care of business.
At the same time, though, we’re still seeing other stories start to simmer. Beast’s growing dissatisfaction with Cyclops’s leadership is starting to come to a head, especially with his revelation about just how he’s been treated by his long-time friend. Magneto’s return has been building up since Fraction came on board with #500. The logistics of the X-Men’s Utopia continue to prove difficult. There are still Predator Xs running around eating mutants. You get the idea. There’s a lot going on, even when it isn’t part of the lead story in an issue. I don’t feel like stories are getting short shrift, and the book is definitely moving towards some big moments.
As for this issue itself? I was expecting to be bored with another, “Character X goes into Character Y’s head to try and save them” story, but I was pleasantly surprised. Part of it is due to Fraction being able to keep up the nice rapport between Cyclops and Emma Frost that we’ve had since Grant Morrison’s run on “New X-Men.” I like seeing the two of them interact, and this issue is no exception to that. Even more so, though, is thanks to Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson providing the art. The Dodsons bring such a beautiful look to each of the characters, not only to the ladies but to the men as well. There are so many little touches, from Psylocke’s new hair style to the careful detailing of Magneto’s stare. Even the scenes set in the white void of Emma’s mind look snazzy; the Dodsons understand how to still create walls and floors that you can’t see, and there’s a consistency and excitement on the pages thanks to their hard work.
There’s a lot to like about this issue. Even little touches like characters explaining just what the Void is (to people unfamiliar with the character of the Sentry) feel like everything is just sliding along naturally. “Uncanny X-Men” is a lot of fun these days, and this issue is no exception to that rule.