Fraction's run on X-Men might be fairly a fairly young one, but already he's packed in a lot of material. His run features strong characters with clear identities and motivations, but this certainly is not always reflected in a slightly meandering plot lines. Even so, there's a faultless energy in Uncanny X-Men -- the kind of direction the property has lacked for years -- and Fraction delivers complex stories in an enviably effortless manner.
While Colossus' story initially appeared to be a fairly straightforward subplot that would let him hit a few guys and rescue a few girls and ultimately resolve his grief, Fraction spins things out slightly more than you might expect standard superhero titles to. After freeing the girls, Colossus actually brings them back to the X-Men's HQ, causing more than few unwelcome ripples as he does so. The follow-through on a plot of this nature is both unexpected and admirable, turning what appeared to be a forgettable skirmish into a story with far more potential.
Elsewhere, Beast and Angel get involved in an altogether less realistic plot, though still one that commands itself as a memorable mix of silver-age craziness and B-movie schlock as the pair, together with their Nazi-hunting ally, fight a bevy of giant crabs before the cliffhanger appearance of a Godzilla analogue. The tone is certainly unique, but it's hard to see where Fraction plans to go with the characters he's assembling -- will they become part of the supporting cast, perhaps, or is a more gruesome fate planned?
The Dodsons' artwork continues to be a welcome addition to the title, their fluid and brilliantly composed work a far cry from co-regular Greg Land's painful cut and paste approach. For this issue, at least, "Uncanny X-Men" is as well-drawn a book as you could ever ask for, and the splash page of "Godzilla" rising from the ocean should be enough to convince you that these artists can handle whatever may be thrown at them.
It's not perfect, but for the first time in years Uncanny X-Men has once again become the X-Book I look forward to most each month -- ultimately, that's got to count for something.