Uncanny Kitty Pryde

Guys, I’m about to get stuck into a review of last week’s Uncanny X-Men #522 and I don’t want to spoil anything for the people who haven’t read it.  I mean, well, it’s clear as soon as you see the cover that Kitty’s coming back.  And if you’d read #521 then it’s just as clear who’s bringing her back and how.  But it’s still an experience in reading the comic that I’d like not to ruin for anyone out there.  Especially if you’re an X-Fan or a fan of Kitty.

So don’t click there —-> unless you’ve already read the comic.  If you’re looking for a recommendation: then you have mine.

This is one of those comics that surprises us by, effectively, having the cover happen in the book.  At least so far as that scene – especially the forefront characters: Scott, Emma, Logan and Piotr – is recreating in the pages of the book; albeit imperfectly.

Taking this immediate opportunity to consider the art: just look at the page.  It’s a little bit of a case of dull surprise, isn’t it?  The colours also struck me as a little messy, but ultimately I did really like the art.  Emma didn’t have ridiculous boobs, and they were all drawn rather naturally.  That central pose of Emma and Scott – I really like it.  Especially Emma.  Good choice on the writing by Fraction to have Emma behave the way she does.  Emma and Kitty were always at each other before the incident at the end of Astonishing (under, uhm, Whedon?)  but as soon as Kitty was lost, well, Emma seemed to emote genuinely.  And we’re seeing that again here.

Unfortunately, the writing doesn’t really focus on the characters much.  There’s Emma, and there’s a shot or two of Warren getting excited – but ultimately it missed the mark.  We get one shot of Piotr, not including their reunion.  We get nothing out of Logan – which is horrible.  Logan to Kitty is as Logan to Jubilee and as Logan to X-23 — he becomes a surrogate father to these girls and I think it’s important to see Logan behave that way sometimes.  But we didn’t get it.  I like that he’s in the forefront of that image, but that’s all we got.  The treatment to Piotr is so much worse though.  I mean, this man loved the girl.  Where’s the over-the-top response?

Not.  Good.  Enough.  That’s a subtle smile.  That’s a subtle reaction.  That’s.  Stupid.  This is the only problem I have with the book and, honestly, this next image doesn’t even make up for it.  Because, in the ending – and I’m sorry, because I really loved reading this book – it was rushed.

It’s clear, and the follow-up in the comic is adequate, but it just didn’t feel like it was enough.  Knowing that we’re about to jump into a whole new cross-over event this week, I can’t foresee there being much space in the next issue(s) to address what is wrong.  A page of exposition – yes, I’m asking for exposition – felt necessary.  At the moment, I know that Kitty is stuck in phase, but I’m asking if she can talk.  I’m asking, if she can’t, why can’t she?  These questions needed to be answered in this comic – because being answered later gives me something to complain about in Second Coming.  Of course, the feeling of it being rushed had a lot to do with this page too:

It is really difficult to discern just what the Hell is going on here.  I had to read the page a few times, and I’m still not sure where the bullet went.  I think Portacio’s pencils lacked clarity – but it could have been Fraction’s fault.  He could have, simply, scripted this page badly.  But that’s enough about the negative.  We do get some nice art in this book.

And that’s it for the images.  The other positives come in – wait for it guys – Scott.  I really like how Scott immediately took hold of the situation and got everyone doing everything that they could and everything that could be done to Kitty back safely.  I also liked that Emma, in futility by trying to telepathically communicate with a locked away Magneto, communicated (mostly to us, the readers) that Scott is still that insecure little man that he was with Jean.  The confidence that he’s shown us lately – that’s just a part of his job.  It’s just part of being the leader of the entire race.  I really like that.  And for that reason I really like the last page.

After the rushed return of Kitty, it’s the last few pages that are simply the highlight of the writing in this issue.  The last four pages have only the one piece of dialogue amongst them.  It’s all told visually, and a lot of it is arbitrary, but it’s all fantastic.  We see Kitty in some sort of science machine (with Piotr by her side, in a really nice shot, and, I should point out, with Logan in the room – that, I admit is almost enough for me to retract all of the negative things I pointed out) and we see Erik basically dying.  Then we see Namor under the sea, then we see life on Utopia.  Then we see Scott.  These last four pages I can’t fault.  I can’t fault the writing.  I can’t fault the art.

So I’m sitting here at the end of the review thinking: would my suggestion of a page of exposition ruin these four pages?  Is the detriment of these perfect four pages worth fixing, what is in reality only, a very minor fault in the narrative?  I’m not sure that it is.

I loved this book.  It’s a contrivance to bring Kitty back, but it works.  In a world populated by seventeen Hulk characters, one guy using his elemental magentokinesis to pull a giant metal bullet back to Earth at the speed of light isn’t necessarily unbelievable.  In fact it’s pretty God damn badass and a great showing for Magneto.  People might disagree, but this has basically killed him so it’s not like he just clicked his fingers and did it.  It was credible.  It felt real.  I really liked this book guys.


2 Responses to Uncanny Kitty Pryde

  1. Safeer says:

    Nothing on the backup tale? You probably skipped it, but it did actually have some (tenuous but explicit) relevance to the Kitty story. I sorta liked it.

  2. Adam says:

    I didn’t exactly skip it, but I didn’t exactly read it either. I rarely like the things that they stick at the end of a comic, especially if I enjoyed the action comic and even if the tacked on bits actually are really good. I think I just find them superfluous.

    I did like the idea in it though.

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