Monday, September 16, 2013

Book Review: Uncanny X-men : The Complete Collection. Volume 3 by Matt Fraction (writer), Kieron Gillen (writer), Greg Land (art), Whilce Portacio (art), Phil Jimenez (art), Steve Sanders (art), Jamie McKelvie(art)

On reading this, I found out it took place just before Avengers vs. X-men. I'd probably have read it first if I'd known. I do wish Marvel and DC would think to include chronological lists of the recent publications inside each volume--they do on some, but not on others.

There's going to be a middling spoiler in here; I'll post a warning, but if you're like me, you're past warnings almost before you see them, so here's a heads-up.

There are two major plots in this one: Hope, the "mutant messiah" is settling in on Utopia and is asked to help a handful of emerging mutants figure out how to cope with their new powers. Meanwhile, an entrepreneur is to copy & sell mutant powers, but on the side, he's trying to blackmail the X-men into selling the right to copyright their genome in return for curing them of a plague. Oh and Emma has to deal with Shaw once and for all (or until the next writer gets bored). Also, the mutants finally get around to hiring a PR specialist. It's only taken them--how long?

Two of the plots--Hope's miraculous ability to help new mutants figure out their power and the confrontation between Emma and Shaw were fairly standard stuff. In fact, the Hope line annoyed me a bit because it threw in the tiresome "God won't help you" line that various writers keep shoving into the different X-books (or at least the ones I'm reading lately). On the plus side, there, though, at least one of the emerging mutants had parents who were concerned about him and just wanted someone to help their son. After reading so many "turn mutant and everyone hates you" books, it's nice to see that someone realizes this isn't a universal truth.

The more interesting line was the mutant powers as drug line.

Spoiler starts here:

I loved the idea of mutant power being cool. Who wouldn't want to fly? If you could buy wings for, say, a day or a week, wouldn't you? What would that do to the mutants if their power could be easily copied and spread? If they were trademarked rather than evil? How would that change their view of themselves? Their view of the world? The world's view of them?

I really wish this had been a longer-running story with more twists and turns to it, with all the mutants having a say in what happened and maybe even considering the offer. Instead, of course, the corporation turns out to be standard-issue Evil, making the drug addictive and customizing a plague to kill the mutants if they don't cooperate. It's all over fairly quickly, all things considered.

Spoiler ends here.

However, the plot was left somewhat open-ended, and overall, the book was a reminder of why I spent a few years reading the X-men obsessively, and they were my gateway to superhero comics and, ultimately, through a long, slow road to comics in general. I also appreciated the publicist. Finally, the X-Men are thinking about how to manage their image, and paying someone who does her job and does it well and to the best of her ability. I wonder where, when, and why she disappeared?

Also, this collection made sense: All the relevant bits to each story were included. That may sound like faint praise, but I'm slowly learning that this is not always the case.

So, overall: Not a book that will addict you to the X-men or to comic books if you aren't already a reader, but an entertaining way to spend the time if you are.

Uncanny X-Men: The Complete Collection on Goodreads.
Anyone got links to others? I kept finding bits and pieces, but not the whole. I admit, I didn't search very far, so if you wrote one, send me the link and I'll put it up!

Mervi's Book Reviews has a reviewof Quarantine, one of the tales in this collection.

Links of Interest
Whilce Portacio on Facebook. He tends to show work-in-progress and talk about how and why he makes decisions. Definitely worth following!

Uncanny X-Men: The Complete Collection
Volume 3 on Amazon.


  1. I'm excited to read this. I have a huge crush on Matt Fraction's writing, and I just got through enjoying his run on Iron Man.