Like its sister book “Wolverine and the X-Men,” “Uncanny X-Men” is dealing with the fallout of “The Dark Angel Saga” over in “Uncanny X-Force.” It’s impressive when you think about it, that multiple books are now mining the end results of a single story, but there’s so much material available from it that I wouldn’t be surprised if “Avengers Academy” or “Fantastic Four” got in on the action.
Here, the X-Men are in the depths of Tabula Rasa, the spot in Montana where millions of years of evolution progressed in the blink of an eye. What’s fun about this story is not so much the main plot, as the team goes up against a new enemy that evolved there, but a lot of the smaller details.
The idea behind (as the cover calls him) the Immortal Man isn’t a bad one; it takes the idea of evolution to a logical conclusion, forming a vastly powerful race that would by its very nature pose a serious threat to the rest of the world. But as a guy in a spacesuit shooting missiles, he’s not that interesting. No dialogue and little else in the way of actual actions tends to do that, after all. Presumably we’ll see him out of that suit before too long, and that can only be an improvement. For now, though, it’s almost like the X-Men are just being attacked by a really cool idea that hasn’t entirely revealed itself.
On the other hand, I love the smaller moments peppered throughout the comic. The idea that the portion of the river which was trapped inside Tabula Rasa for millions of years evolved creatures that can’t survive in a non-lake environment, for instance, is a great follow-through on the idea behind the barrier that formed this pocket of displaced time. Namor explaining all of this to Hope works well too; the king having to lecture the young princess is a great character moment that speaks well to both of their personalities. Even moments like Magneto finding a source of metal with which to attack the Immortal Man is a nice one, and it’s one I don’t remember seeing in the comics before.
Greg Land’s pencils are, as always, a mixed bag. We get good moments, like the god icons of the X-Force team painted on the walls. We get bad moments, like Psylocke’s breast talking to Magneto. (No, really.) In the end, by now you know what you’re in for with a book drawn by Land.
“Uncanny X-Men” #6 is a good book, but I must admit that I’m more interested in the fine details that Gillen is sprinkling throughout Tabula Rasa; he’s clearly intrigued by the idea, and it’s nice to see him doing something interesting with it. Like so many middle portions of a comic, though, I think it’s the end point for this storyline where things will have the potential to go from good to great. I look forward to seeing just where “Uncanny X-Men” goes with Tabula Rasa and the Immortal Man; there’s enough setup here that it feels promising.