By: Keiron Gillen (writer), Greg Land (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker) Guru eFX (colors)
The Story: Two exceptional individuals battle over whether to live in harmony with inferior beings or to dominate and destroy them. Wait, why does this sounds familiar…
The Review: I’ve been struggling with this issue for a while now. The heart of my problem is that the Tabula Rasa arc of Uncanny X-Men is boring me to tears, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. The premise, which explores a leftover story element from another X-Book, is clever, and exemplifies the best kind of continuity-building; the art, while not exactly Eisner-worthy, is adequate, and in some instances mildly impressive; and for goodness’ sakes, it’s Kieron Gillen writing the story. I almost never have anything bad to say about his work!
And yet, even as I write this, I am fighting back a yawn. While the dialogue is still crisp and clever, managing to fit in tons of exposition without ever reading like a lecture, I’m struggling to care about the characters who speak it. This is largely to do with the placement of the central dilemma. This arc hasn’t done very much in the way of exploring the main cast. The two subplots with personal stakes for the X-Men—Warren Worthington’s role in the creation of Tabula Rasa, and Colossus’s ongoing descent into becoming the Juggernaut—are both completely ignored in this issue. Instead we’re stuck with only the conflict between the two surviving Apexes to drive this issue.
The two Apexes—they say we can call them Good Apex and Bad Apex, but you might as well call them “Apex Charles” and “Apex Eric”—are interesting, but they are hard to care about. I love the idea of communicating through a musical language, and the ambiguous nature of their relationship is a nice touch. Their disdain for the low intelligence of the X-Men is entertaining, but it also makes them both pretty unlikable. I don’t feel empathy for either’s situation, tragic though it may be. The X-Men seem only to be present to bare witness to the tragedy, and to use their powers in awesome and creative ways when the plot requires it.
I said earlier that the art is adequate, and that’s really the highest praise I can give it. While the fight scenes are well rendered by Greg Land and Jay Leisten, the shallowness of the backgrounds, the uninspired designs, and the lack of facial expression suck the life out of the issue. There’s also one splash page (the one with the giant disembodied head) that was so bizarre that I still have no idea what’s going on, and I invite anyone to try to explain it to me. Seriously, how does that thing make sense? Guru eFX seems to be trying to make everything more appealing by splashing crazy colors hither and thither, but his heroic effort fails to disguise lackluster pencils.
Conclusion: I guess it’s not as hard as I thought to figure out why Uncanny X-Men #7 was a bore. While the zany and inspired ideas present a pretty frosting, the cake underneath is stale and bland.
Jumping on point?: Despite a ton of exposition, no. Wait until another arc begins.
Some Musings: -I’m not docking this issue points for Apex Eric’s design since this isn’t the first time we’re seeing it, but good lord is it booooring. It looks like Greg Land took the Big Daddy design from Bioshock and then tried to make it as bland as possible.
-Okay, what’s up with Colossus and Magic? Supposedly Magic was captured by the native fauna, but we never actually see it happen, and now we’ve gone another whole issue without a mention of either character. This is just bad storytelling. Gillen, you know you shouldn’t introduce plot elements out of nowhere and then just ignore them! You’re better than this!
Filed under: Marvel Comics, Reviews Tagged: | Colossus, Comic Book Reviews, Greg Horn, Guru eFX, Jay Leisten, Jim Middleton, Juggernaut, Kieron Gillen, Magic, Marvel Comics, review, Tabula Rasa, Uncanny X-Men, Uncanny X-Men #7, Uncanny X-Men #7 review, Warren Worthington, WCBR, Weekly Comic Book Review