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: The Juggernaut, complete with Fear Itself hammer accessory, is bearing down on San Francisco.  It’s up to the X-Men to stop him.

What’s Good: This was a pretty tight issue that was entertaining to read.  The story is pretty basic: Juggernaut is stomping towards SF and the X-Men need to stop him.  Of course, Juggernaut is difficult to stop on a normal day– now that he’s powered-up with his Fear Itself hammer, we really don’t know what his limits are, but we’ve seen both the Thunderbolts and a bunch of the Avengers Initiative kids take cracks at him in other Fear Itself tie-ins and no one has even slowed him down yet.  So, the X-Men are faced with a pretty tall task.

Gillen does a nice job of getting a lot of X-Men into the action and it isn’t just the standard mutants.  True, Emma and Cyclops feature prominently, but Wolverine is nowhere to be seen (Bravo!) whereas Iceman and Colossus get big roles.  Of course, any long-time X-Men fan gets gleeful at the prospect of Colossus v. Juggernaut tussle (think of Uncanny #183!) and it’s nice to see Colossus get in some good licks!  We even get a cool moment from Hope and it’s nice seeing Hope turn into a useful hero rather than the child in danger that she has been for the last ~4 years of comics.  Of course, this whole thing is orchestrated by General Cyclops…

What’s Not So Good: This is probably one of Greg Land’s stronger issues in awhile, but this has to stop.  Just about every face or pose on a female character in this issue has appeared somewhere before in one of Land’s previous issues of Uncanny.  It’s just really difficult to enjoy the issues when you see a panel and think, “I’m pretty sure that face/pose was used for Domino during Second Coming…”  And, half of these faces just aren’t appropriate for whatever the characters are doing.  What he does with Cyclops just isn’t working either.  Stubble?  Why is Land the only artist who shows Cyclops as unshaven?  The final insult is how Emma is depicted.  There’s a psychic sequence where Emma is shown in some kind of all-white cowgirl outfit.  This is just dumb.  I guess the idea behind the psychic sequence is that Emma can look like whatever she wants and in this instance she wants to look like a cowgirl.  But, does Emma strike anyone as someone who is inhibited in her choices of clothing?  I mean, she pretty much wears whatever the hell she wants, so if she wants to wear cowgirl clothes, wouldn’t Emma just wear cowgirl clothes????

Conclusion: Pretty good.  Gillen gets a lot of X-Men into action against an old-time X-enemy and he doesn’t even resort to using any hairy Canadian heroes!  Too bad that we still have Greg Land drawing this series.  People who care about art less would probably give this a higher grade.

Grade: C+

-Dean Stell

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