Monday, August 1, 2011

Uncanny X-Men #539

Cover by Simone Bianchi
Is Wolverine just
screaming in space?
Uncanny X-Men #539 (June 29, 2011)
Writer: Kieron Gillen         
Penciller: Ibraim Roberson
Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

For some reason I’ve been avoiding the more famous comic series of the Marvel Universe. Namely, the X-Men and Spider-Man. I think my own indifference towards these characters’ films, television shows and overall pop culture identities has prevented me from attempting any of their comics. I have also been intimidated by the sheer magnitude of their histories and popularity.

I’ve talked a lot about the insanely large number of Batman series and Avengers series going on the same time, but I don’t think anything compares to the X-Men. Seriously, just trying to go through all the available comics starring the X-Men took a long time and by the end, I simply picked up a random one.

Unlike my sister, I’m not a huge X-Men fan. In fact, I rather disliked them. The idea of mutants working together and going to an American Hogwarts never appealed to me; I only saw one of the films and I never watched the Saturday morning cartoon, as my sister did. After attempting to read a couple X-Men comics from the Bronze Age and failing, I essentially gave up on them. Also, something about Wolverine inherently pissed me off. He seemed like a jerk.

But I knew I had to give them another shot and while Uncanny X-Men #539 wasn’t exactly mind-blowing, it wasn’t terribly mediocre either. While the plot was nothing new or surprising, the characterization was pretty strong and gripping. The only character that was familiar to me was Wolverine and while he does tend to be Broody McBroodster, he was strangely compelling here. He reluctantly and dismissively saves the day, demonstrating to the reader and the main character, Hope Summers (that is such a Mary Sue name, oh my God) that he does have a heart. I don’t know, maybe I’m starting to warm up to the guy.

Hope gets kidnapped by the Crimson Commando, who spends a long time explaining his reasoning and what he plans on doing to Hope and then gets his ass kicked  by Wolverine. Fairly standard.  What I did enjoy, however, was the resilience and strength of Hope, though she does endure a pretty violent torture sequence. I know absolutely nothing about Hope but I have to say, this was a pretty great introduction to her. I finished the comic intrigued by her and anxious to read comics starring her.

Roberson’s art definitely appealed to me, especially his realistic depictions of the women. I’m always pleased whenever I’m not cringing at the female characters in a comic. My favorite aspect, however, may be Charalampidis’ use of soft colors and textures. Some the panels almost looked like paintings, to be honest.

Uncanny X-Men #539, while lacking in some integral aspects, definitely made up for it in other ways. Though I am still testing the waters of the X-Men universe, I am satisfied that this was my first impression.

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