Uncanny X-Men Annual #1 Review

I honestly do not think that Reginald Hudlin has done a BAD job with his lead-up to the marriage between Storm and Black Panther. However, if anyone is going to give storm away, it probably should be Chris Claremont, so it's nice to see this story, which is Chris Claremont's farewell to both writing the X-Men and his farewell to Storm (writing assists by Tony Bedard).

As a farewell, I think it was quite good.

As a comic book story, I think it fell a little bit flat, to be frank.

First off, the artwork by Clayton Henry and Mark Morales was quite good. I was impressed. I think he has grown as an artist, or perhaps the colors of Christina Strain were helpful (she does a GREAT job in the dream sequences).

The plot of the comic is straightforward. While meeting with Storm in Africa, the X-Men's hotel is blown up. The team is separated from Storm, who is trapped in the rubble. The X-Men try to ward off the attackers (who are sent after the X-Men by a mysterious warlord general) while Storm, laying in the rubble, has dreams that allow Claremont to work out a discussion of the idea of Storm leaving the X-Men to marry Black Panther.

In the dreams, Ororo meets up with Forge, Jean Grey and Kitty Pryde. As you can imagine, Claremont uses these meetings to resolve all three of the relationships. I think he does a very impressive job, as the interactions are familiar to long-time X-Men readers, while still resonating with any reader, I believe. I do not know how much of this dialogue is courtesy of Tony Bedard, but in either case, it was quite good.

Meanwhile, the X-Men are caught in a situation that they themselves refer to as similar to Blackhawk Down. They are pinned down in a city where they cannot cut loose with their powers, because they are amidst innocents. So they are forced to engage in a very slow and steady battle with their assailants.

This issue has more than a few classic Claremontisms, which I think was a nice touch for him saying goodbye to the book (and Storm). "Weather Witch," "Hope you survive the experience"...it's all in here.

In addition, I particularly enjoyed Claremont's nice little touch by making Storm on a little more even footing with T'Challa, in regards to her ancestry. Very cool.

However, the X-Men battle scenes, while not bad, seem more like treading water while Ororo has her dreams, and her dreams themselves serve less as storytelling and more story EXPLAINING.

This is a dream comic for diehard Claremont fans, because it is like a loveletter to the older comics. And AS a Claremont fan, I was interested in them. But wrapping up loose ends and explaining Storm's behavior in Black Panther is not enough, I don't think, to be a good comic book story.

So I would not recommend this comic, but I DO think that any big Claremont fan will enjoy this comic a lot (also, anyone who wants to see the Storm/Black Panther wedding addressed better than Hudlin, check here).

Steve Rude's Detective Comics Cover is An Emotional Memorial to [SPOILER]

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