Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review # 66: "Uncanny X-Men - Sisterhood"

Despite the crapfest known as "X-Infernus" being billed as the sequel to "Inferno," one could argue that the pages of "Uncanny X-Men" at practically the same time were making a much stronger claim. "Sisterhood" is a novel concept as the spectre of Madelyne Pryor hatches a plan to claim the body of Jean Grey as a vessel. So she forms a team that includes Spiral, Deathstrike, Lady Mastermind, Martinique and Chimera to do her dirty work. Their first task: finding Betsy Braddock's original body. Pryor, you see, found Psylocke hopping around realities, trapped her, and - in the process of transplanting her consciousness - brainwashed her.

They then lead an attack on the X-Men setup in San Francisco which - to me - makes no sense.

Pryor has to get her hands on a lock of Jean's hair (being kept by Wolverine, NOT Cyclops... awkward,) to locate her gravesite. Of course, given that she's a psychic, Psylocke is a psychic and Lady Mastermind was actually an X-Man at one point, they probably don't need to go to the lengths they did to find her. Also, it gives Cyclops the chance to foil her plan completely... while contradicting why she needed the hair sample again. My brain hurts.

Despite the giant plotholes you could fly the Blackbird through, there's a lot of good stuff from Matt Fraction in here that I'd say makes up for it a fair bit. Domino's scene in Tokyo is fantastic. So is Northstar's TV interview, and his - along with Dazzler and Pixie - stumbling while drunk into Graymalkin Industries as Scott sleeps on the couch. The personal hell Cyclops is stuck in is fittingly creepy. All this and a cameo appearance by Jean herself during the main story.

Plus, there's the ongoing business with the X-Club as Dr. Kavita Rao ends up on the team of scientists and they decide to go back in time to San Francisco to collect pre-mutant DNA. Their opposition: and earlier version of the Hellfire Club and a steampunk Sentinel. Dr. Nemesis is as glorious as always.

Now I'd be perfectly willing to balance this all out favourably, but there's one man that keeps me from doing that:

Greg Land.

The first time you see Greg Land's art, you're dazzled. His action stills are jammed with intensity and the characters look ultra-realistic.

But then you start to notice a few things. Some of the facial expressions begin to look somewhat... inappropriate to the situation. Then you start to notice that a few faces look familiar. Like... character-to-character familiar. Then there are sudden inconsistencies in facial features for the same character.

It's at this moment where you realize Greg Land is tracing everything.

And he's tracing a lot of it from porno mags. When that revelation dawns, you suddenly see how disrespectful his art is to the characters. Violent screams are not really screams of violence. Every smile becomes lustful. It completely compromises the story and the characters.

For an example of what Greg Land does wrong, take a look at the cover picture of Psylocke. Outside of the hair, outfit and makeup, can YOU tell the difference between her Asian body and original European body? That's right... I said Asian. Is there even a trace of Japanese on the left side? Hell no. It's terrible.

Rant over.

I have to knock off points for Land's art and the glaring plotholes, but despite the rating you see it really isn't all that bad. It's a good Scott and Emma story, it's a satisfying confrontation between Cyclops and Maddie (if it really IS Maddie), and the X-Club story at the end is top-notch.

Bonus: Land doesn't draw that one.

Rating: 5/10

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