Uncanny X-Men #522


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Uncanny X-Men #522


  • Words: Matt Fraction
  • Art: Whilce Portacio
  • Inks: Ed Tadeo
  • Colors: Justin Ponsor
  • Story Title: Ghostly
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Mar 24, 2010

Ever since the dramatic conclusion of Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men, Kitty Pryde has been hurtling through space in a planet-sized bullet.  Last month, we learned that Magneto used his powers to turn Kitty’s bullet around.  And now, in Uncanny X-Men #522, after two long years, Kitty Pryde returns. 

Writer Matt Fraction and artist Whilce Portacio take us on an emotional roller-coaster that culminates in the bittersweet return of one of the X-Men’s most well-liked characters. They do an amazing job of telling an exciting story that captures the urgency of an extinction level event, as well as the joyful expectation that comes with the return of a close friend. 

Fraction delivers an emotional reunion followed immediately by a heart-breaking complication that will leave you hungry for what comes next.  Portacio shows us an eerie calm before the storm in an ending with four full pages of silent panels spanning the entirety of the regular cast of Uncanny.  It’s the perfect precursor to Second Coming, the next big X-Men crossover, which will undoubtedly serve to force all of mutant-kind together.

What really made this issue incredible was not the major plot development, but the attention to detail with regards to character.   Whedon’s game-changing run on Astonishing, which this issue’s conflict stems from, was not only responsible for “killing” Kitty Pryde, but also maturing Cyclops’ character.   Literally the first X-Man, Scott Summers has always been overlooked and underrated: he’s considered dorky and boring, despite being incredibly powerful and capable.  He lacks Wolverine’s toughness, Magneto’s presence, or Gambit’s charm and symbolizes the stereotypical nerdy teenager who wants to be a superhero, complete with permanent glasses.  Whedon succeeded in pushing Summers beyond this limit and making him dangerous and unpredictable. 

One of my greatest disappointments with the current X-titles is Scott Summers’ return to being an uptight control-freak.  Fraction picks up where Whedon left off by subtly probing at Cyclops’ annoying tendencies via Magneto’s gradual subversion of his authority.  Portacio’s art does a remarkable job at conveying the frustration behind Cyclops’ actions while constantly building the tension between him and the other characters.  It foreshadows the future conflict hinted at in the recent Marvel ads, which promise an upcoming struggle over leadership of the X-Men.  In the end, Cyclops will man up or be replaced.  Either way, it’ll be nice to see one of my favorite characters move out of the stale position that he’s been stuck in for so long. 

Uncanny X-Men #522 is an all-around great read.  It has everything that I look for in a good comic: action, suspense, strong characters and the promise of bigger things to come.

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