Most of the same X-Men that Joss Whedon sent to the Breakworld in 2004 head back again at the behest of Abigail Brand to avert a crisis. And, in one fell swoop, Kieron Gillen gets to dip his toe back into his great, too soon lost “S.W.O.R.D.” series. Bravo, sir!
In this issue, Peter and Kitty’s date gets interrupted by a “robot shrimp” and Namor, who’s busy fighting it. Robot shrimp dispatched, we move on to the lab and a conversation between Dr. Nemesis and Magneto which alone is worth the price of admission. Next we see Unit advising Abigail Brand to bring the X-Men in to solve her latest intergalactic crisis, and after a little arm pulling she agrees. In short order our heroes are headed back to the Breakworld, or at least a Breakworld Warship, and the surprise that awaits them there.
Gillen has a great handle on the X-Men he tackles here, and he puts them on familiar ground with Abigail Brand and S.W.O.R.D., which anchors everyone nicely. Gillen gives great dialogue, infusing the not typically so hilarious X-Men with great humor that still feels tonally correct. It’s fun reading, enough fun that I didn’t care that most of it was actually just conversation pieces that jump around quite a bit as Gillen sets his stage. And that’s some finely crafted comics writing.
I’ve never quite understood Kitty’s whole “stuck in an intangible state” thing and I continue to not get it here. It’s true that I’m not a scientist or any kind of genius, and that this is, of course, comics(!), but I don’t get how Kitty stands on solid ground but can’t touch someone’s hand. How Kitty can wear an astronaut’s helmet, but needs said helmet in order to breathe…? Then again I didn’t really understand the “physics” of the hit film “Ghost,” either. But if Gillen can clear this intangibility business up while he’s busy writing these very enjoyable comics then more power to him.
The Dodsons’ interiors work is strong as always. It’s well-paced and wildly consistent in depictions of all the characters from hairstyles to clothing choices. Everyone feels solid, ruggedly handsome (or sublimely beautiful), and always deliciously themselves. Character expressions match the dialogue and the storytelling is equal parts lovely form and blissfully easy to follow function. Even suiting up for battle looks delightfully pretty. The biggest problem with the Dodsons’ work is that next month the book will be penciled by Greg Land; that’s a hard pill to swallow once you get used to seeing stories by The Dodsons.
Gillen is off to a fantastic start with his “Uncanny X-Men” run, although anyone that read “S.W.O.R.D.” or has been reading “Generation Hope” will find that to be no real surprise.