When the television show “The Wire” first aired on HBO, I remember a lot of people (including myself) who initially began to wonder just how everything was really going to connect together. And then, around the fifth episode or so, everything clicked into place so well that I regularly hear people recommend to new viewers to just give the TV series that many episodes to see if they really like it or not. In some ways, the latest issue of “Uncanny X-Men” feels like we’re at that point in terms of story, where all the pieces are finally assembled and everything is starting to fall into place rapidly.
Nominally, this issue is the conclusion of Colossus’ story of both dealing with the Russian smuggler from his past, as well as his grief over Kitty Pryde’s apparent death last year. If you look at it strictly from that angle, it’s not a bad, if a bit slight of an issue. But in terms of the bigger picture? It’s remarkable how many pay-offs we’re getting. A continuation of the Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw story from this year’s Annual. Beast’s Science Team is fully assembled and prepared to try and crack the secret of no more mutants. The secret of Cyclops’s X-Force team is starting to leak out. The Mayor of San Francisco is starting to catch wind of which way things are shifting in mutantdom and gives a not-subtle warning to the X-Men. And, oh yeah, there’s another story being picked up from the start of Matt Fraction’s run that’s also starting to move forward again.
Seriously, this is a lot of plot all starting to click into place. And, more importantly, it genuinely feels like it’s moving somewhere. Now sure, this could all swerve wildly to one side as we discover that Fraction is secretly trying to rival Chris Claremont’s late-’80s issues of “Uncanny X-Men” in terms of how many dangling plot lines are out there. But for now, at least, I’m not going to give up hope. Too much has all happened at once for it to be any sort of coincidence.
While I’m at it, let me just say that I really wish Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson were the art team for every single issue. The Dodsons produce such a beautiful looking comic, with slick and smooth renderings of each character. There’s a great sequence of panels when Cyclops and the Mayor are talking to each other, and each panel zooms closer in on part of the Mayor’s face. It’s a perfectly drawn transition, each jump at just the right distance from the Mayor to make it feel like a smooth zoom in, and it underscores exactly the ominous message that the Mayor is trying to impart.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: now is a great time to be reading “Uncanny X-Men.” I don’t think I’ve read this many issues in a row of “Uncanny X-Men” since Steven T. Seagle was on board as writer, ten years ago. Welcome back to being the flagship title, “Uncanny,” you’ve been missed.