by Matt Fraction (writer), Terry Dodson (pencils), Rachel Dodson (inks), Justin Ponsor (colors), and Joe Caramagna (letters)

The Story: Emma enters Scott’s mind while Magneto works to keep the island from sinking.

What’s Good: Much like last issue, the Dodsons breathe so much life into Uncanny.  The characters all look significantly more individual and lovable under their capable hands and the book has a vitality, an intimacy, and an intelligence that it doesn’t have under Land.  As I said in my last review of Fraction’s book, the Dodsons have a style that is simply “fun” at its core level.  #519 is actually a much stronger effort than their already solid work last month.  There’s a lot more detail and their depiction of the Void-contaminated version of Scott’s mind is a great amount of fun.  Meanwhile, their “nice guy” Magneto looks Disney-huggable.  I also absolutely loved Emma Frost’s military-styled outfit when in Scott’s mind, as well as the Mark Buckingham-styled paneling and borders during these portions.

This is also some of the best work I’ve seen out of Fraction on Uncanny that’ll have you wondering why the series couldn’t always be like this.  This is the kind of human soap opera that Uncanny should be and this comic actually feels like it was penned by the same guy who writes Invincible Iron Man.

All the characters have individual voices, all of the dialogue is characterful and tight, and all the interpersonal dynamics are fun and nuanced.  Emma and Scott’s adventure is well done; Emma is human, loving, and empathetic while retaining hints of her trademark high-nosed arrogance.  Scott is heroic and stalwart, as we’d expect him to be, while Fraction nonetheless has the Void complicate this portrayal by giving voice to his flaws and insecurities.  Meanwhile, I’m loving “nice guy Magneto,” and his conversation with Namor is spot-on and really enjoyable; it’s clear that these two characters have a unique chemistry that Fraction is beginning to explore.  Both are brazen characters willing to do what others won’t, but neither are the most socially capable.

Fraction also does his best work with Beast in a very long time, despite using few pages.  The character is simply haunting this month.   His mental wandering and his abrupt, horrifying flashback does a better job of portraying the character’s trauma than anything Fraction did through the whole Utopia event.  The final page of the comic is also beautifully executed, with Beast’s conversation with Scott being rendered silently, leaving us forced to read gestures and facial expressions, from a distance.  Again, wonderfully haunting stuff.

What’s Not So Good: Aside from from my pessimistic inability to believe that this level of quality will become standard for Uncanny?  Not a lot really. Admittedly, Psylocke does feel a bit like furniture this month.  There’s really not much character to her, and she’s basically just a living plot device.

Also, while the Dodsons’ creativity with their paneling is, for the most part, a success, there is one page that doesn’t read particularly well.

Finally, while Magneto is solid overall, during his first bit of dialogue, Fraction does seem to struggle with the “colloquial versus formal” dilemma with the character’s voice.  That’s no surprise, as that same problem has dogged Fraction with Xavier on many occasions.  That said, the problem is quickly resolved and settles into a nice median.

Conclusion: The best issue of Uncanny in quite a while.  Why can’t they all be like this?

Grade: A-

-Alex Evans