Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews

Uncanny X-Men #496
Marvel Comics
Brubaker, Choi & Oback

This issue has two groups broken off. One deals with Emma and Cyclops going into the 60s version of San Francisco to find Angel. The other handles Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Colossus doing some soul searching in Russia.

Angel isn’t the only X-Men hanging out in San Francisco. Hepzibah has also found herself tangled up in the strange land. We also learn that there is someone running the show there named Goddess. I wonder who this could be. This thread could go on for a while because the people are dancing to Inna Gadda Da Vida, which may be the longest song ever. Emma and Cyclops are en route and provide some amusing dialogue in the process.

Colossus visits a tombstone or two with Wolverine and Nightcrawler. Wolverine keeps the emotions grounded by helping them get out of mourning and into a bar. Wolverine helps to talk Colossus in some circles. Imagine a situation where Wolverine is the calming voice of reason to get over grief. Colossus has lost a lot and thanks to an editor falling asleep at the wheel, we know about another loss before it actually happened (for those of you waiting for Astonishing X-Men stay away from this issue). Wolverine helps to articulate that being an X-Men is wasn’t supposed to solve your own problems, but maybe solve them for future generations of mutants. It’s a solid scene.

Cyclops and Emma land in Golden Gate Park and cloak their ship. I guess they’ve seen Star Trek IV, but they didn’t land on a garbage can. Emma provides a possible explanation about what is happening. This scene again provides some excellent banter between the two.

Trouble finds Wolverine and company and they get in an old fashioned bar fight. The problem is that they alerted some folks to their presence in Russia who like to play with mutants. This can’t go well for them next issue.

A very good issue. It’s not the greatest comic ever, but it does a couple of really cool things. While it doesn’t have any super powered villains or massive battles, much like last issue, it isn’t totally void of action. No, it does have a bar fight. The real staple of the issue is dialogue among the two factions of the story. On all sides it is really excellent. This comic lets you get to know five different characters and it all works well. However, Wolverine is in so many comics, his personality is as predictable as a headless chicken running around. I personally felt like this issue really helped to show the state of these characters.

I liked the artwork a lot. Obviously, all the characters look really young. However, it was refreshing to see Wolverine cleaned up and Colossus looking like a young man instead of one of Stalin’s old guard. Also, Emma looks stunning and classy. She doesn’t look like she is working the street as is very common for the character. Even the throwback scenes in San Francisco have that older look you might expect in a flashback sequence.

Sure, a great X-Men comic has villains and battles and a real sense of purpose. However, the next rung of strong X-Men stories helps to establish that the mutants have camaraderie and that they are fighting only because they are forced to. They would rather just live their lives, but outside forces make them do battle. This comic shows how they would all relate if they could just “be”. I am finding this arc to be a refreshing change from the pedal to the metal type stories we see all too often.

4 out of 5 geek goggles.

X-Men #496