By: Kieron Gillen (writer), Greg Land (pencils), Jay Leisten (inks), Justin Ponsor (colors), Joe Caramagna (letters), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor) & Nick Lowe (editor)

The Story: Juggernaut (the hammer-wielding, leveled-up version) is coming to town.

What’s Good: There are a few little nuggets about the world of Fear Itself in this issue, and I guess that’s really the point when the big event crosses over into an ongoing series.  Of all the folks who have gotten hammers, it makes the most sense that the X-Men would have something to do with Juggernaut since he is really the only one with whom they have a lot of history.  So, it was kinda cool to see Juggernaut get a thrall to follow him around, crying to everyone that DOOM is upon them.  Still no explanation about why Juggernaut speaks in viking runes whereas most of the other hammer-wielders can speak English…

Even if Cyclops was being all kinds of evasive, it was also nice to see the little scene between him and the sexy Mayor of San Francisco (Would she really be that sexy?).  One of the plot threads I’ve always enjoyed about the X-Men’s relocation to SF has been their integration with the Mayor’s office.  It was just kind of a neat touch.  Steve Rogers and the Avengers get to talk directly to the President.  The X-Men are happy just to deal with a lowly Mayor after being complete outcasts in the NYC metro area for decades.  I have a feeling some of this will be going away in the near future with Schism, so we’ll enjoy it while it is here.

Oh, and it was kinda fun to see Namor get shot down.  The only reason I enjoy having Namor around as a character are for those scenes where a woman refuses to sleep with him or some bad-guy who he takes lightly kicks his ass.  Love watching that guy fail.

What’s Not So Good: *Sigh* Greg Land is just a troubling artist.  I know it is a fan-favorite thing to beat up on his photo-referencing, but this issue is maddening because he has a lot of pretty good work in here.  And then he goes right back to the fact that all the women in this issue have the same face (Mayor of SF, Emma, Magik & Kitty) and that his mid-range faces are just dreadful.  There are a lot of little inkings of really nice linework in this issue and he has a very cinematic eye, but it just isn’t coming together into a tight package.  I really don’t care for the coloring palate or coloring style in this issue either.  Too many highlights, Namor colored to look like a black man in one panel, Colossus being so overinked/colored that his face blends into his shirt, etc.

There are also a few places where a cinematic perspective seems to take precedent over old-fashioned sequential storytelling.

Oh, and I really don’t care at all about this Magik storyline.  Honestly, I don’t even know what is really going on despite the fact that I know I read the New Mutants story arc where she committed some kind of horrid atrocity that is making no one trust her.  If it was so non-memorable that I can’t remember it a few months later, it hardly needs to be bumped up to a B-story in the main X-Men title.

Conclusion: Average story & below average art.  There’s nothing Earth-shattering in this issue.  There are those who complain when comic events screw up the “normal stories”, but I like these tie-ins because it doesn’t make any sense for the X-Men to have “normal stories” when the world is getting destroyed in Fear Itself.  The biggest problem with this issue is artistic.  I really don’t need to see any more of Greg Land’s art on this series.  He has an interesting look and it is cool the first time you see it, so why not rotate him around the Marvel Universe because we X-fans have seen it all over the last several years.

Grade: D+

– Dean Stell

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