Uncanny X-Men #504

This is my first foray into the "new" X-Men world, featuring our mutants on the left coast, led by Scott Summers and written by Matt Fraction. In all, I must say, it's quite nice. It's not earth-shattering, mind-blowing, or stunning, but it is nice.

Fraction seems to have a handle on some of these characters (like Nightcrawler and his concern for Colossus), but doesn't convince me with Hank McCoy begging a heretofore long lost Dr. Bradley (co-creator of the original Human Torch) to help solve the genetic riddle that is the result of Scarlet Witch uttering the phrase "No more mutants." Of course, if I hadn't loosely followed the plots of the X-titles over the past few years, I would have found myself scratching my bald head to a near bleed trying to figure out what exactly was going on. Truly, that's the long-winded way of saying this book reads well, the characters have potential, and Fraction is doing his best to realize it, but the title isn't welcoming new readers with wide open arms.

The art, however, is welcoming to new readers. One of the issues I have with Dodson, though, is he draws everyone at their most beautiful. Even Nightcrawler, who by all accounts should be odd to look at is a graceful figure with strong features. Of course, with the majority of this issue occurring in Scott Summers mind, the Dodson scenery is well matched.

The added bonus to this issue was an appearance by Spiral, who is receiving an offer she cannot refuse that appears to lead to more appearances coming from her in the next few issues. I'm curious to see where that goes.

I'll be honest with you, I couldn't summarize the complete landscape of the X-franchise right now. I could not list all of the X-related titles, nor could I recite the various plots filtering through those titles, but I'm not sure that it really matters. This issue is the start of a new storyline; I have a feeling more may become clearer as the story progresses. I just hope other, more dedicated readers are better matched to interpreting this.

One final item of note, Wolverine doesn't appear at all in this issue. Not a bit. Rather unheard of for a comic in the X-Men corner of the Marvel Universe, wouldn't you say? For that, however, I think this issue is stronger in that other characters are reminded of how bright the spotlight is.

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