Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Uncanny X-Men #499
Brubaker, Choi, Oliver and Oback
Let’s set the expectation right here: this arc isn’t meant to rock the X universe. However, it does establish a touch of a new status quo. So in that regard, this issue and arc isn’t garbage. However, it is an easy little arc to bridge the gap to issue #500. Some find this offensive, but I don’t. However, this issue isn’t getting any free passes just because it is meant to be a little light in preparation for the big #500 celebration.
This issue has two plot threads getting tied up. First, the Wolverine, Colossus and Nightcrawler part of the issue has them battling Omega Red. Now this part of the comic establishes that Omega Red is alive and well and still out there running around. What I didn’t like about this was the fact that this plot had so little development or explanation. Sure, you want to leave some stuff dangling, but I would have liked to know a little bit about what was going on in there all this time. Also, the artwork here saw Omega Red look so much like Sabretooth it was scary. The only point I could find with this plot was to reaffirm the relationship of Colossus, Nightcrawler and Wolverine along with revealing the presence of Omega Red.
The second plot that gets wrapped up sees Cyclops and Emma putting a stop to the hippie fest redux in San Francisco. This establishes that Mastermind is alive and well and running around out there. Emma and Cyclops “free” her X-Men captives and liberate all of San Francisco. Including, the mayor, who offers the homeless X-Men to move to San Fran. This thread gives us little explanation behind Mastermind’s motives and gives a shotty explanation as to where she has been all this time and how she survived the claws of Wolverine in Messiah Complex. The only point I could find to this plot was the X-Men moving to San Francisco and the re-emergence of Mastermind.
It’s a tame issue and yet, it has a lot of action. But realistically what does this issue offer us? It makes good use of five A-list X-Men in terms of their interaction with each other, but what does it do to advance them individually? I’d say not a whole lot.
The artwork feels like it dropped a notch for this issue. That really doesn’t bode well for a collected edition. I’m not sure if there duties were spread differently or if they were rushed, but the difference is noticeable.
To be honest, if someone wanted to get onboard with the X-Men then this issue would be as good as any. You really don’t miss a lot by skipping the opening issues of the arc. On the other hand, if you pass on this issue you probably miss nothing unless you want to know what happened to Omega Red or Mastermind.
Based on the assessment that it’s okay to miss the issue altogether I can’t give this issue too high of a rating. I also can’t crush the issue’s rating just because the plot wasn’t fully explained. X-Men have made a living leaving things open forever and ever. You could do a lot worse. Trust me. On to number 500.
3 out of 5 geek goggles
Uncanny X-Men #499