I read Uncanny X-Men Volume 2: Dominant Species TPB straight after I finished the mediocre Volume 1: Hope. Let me start by saying that Chuck Austen's first arc, Hope, wasn't the worst thing I've read, but it was by far not the best either. It wasn't until I finished Volume 2: Dominant Species that I realized that the bad reputation Chuck Austen seems to have with X-Men fans is entirely well deserved.
Dominant Species is like the three pronged turd. Poor plotting, poor art and poor characterization. The main thread running through Dominant Species is that people with similar character characteristics gravitate toward one another. A majority of the story is told from the point of view of Angel and Husk. There's a bit of old school sexual tension.
There's also a new villain, Max Lobbo, who's head of some sort of mutant werewolf pack. Who he is, where he comes from and what his motivation is, doesn't receive much attention. He works/runs a company that is owned by Warren Worthington (Angel). Besides that Lobbo kills people and mutants for fun, and has a pack of werewolf mutants following him around that seem to do nothing more than repeat everything everyone says.
At one point Wolverine gets pummelled and then has to be rescued by Northstar and taken away to heal. Is this the same Wolverine that survived an explosion and healed himself from skeletal remains in his Civil War tie-in?
So basically, a new bad guy is introduced, but barely fleshed out, and Husk has a thing for Angel, although Angel does not really know that. Havok is brought out of his coma, and Lorna Dane (Polaris) returns.
From what I've read so far Austen applies the same template across his stories. He ticks the 'unrequited love' box, and also makes sure to include a little vague social commentary. Female characters exist solely to stare longingly at their male counter parts.
According to the Amazon description, Dominant Species was illustrated by "superstar" Japanese artist Kia Asamiya. The X-Men clearly take on a manga flavor, but in this instance, I can't say it's a good thing. Some of the characters look just plain weird, and it's often hard to get past the nose. Another thing that stuck out for me was the costume Polaris rocks up in. It looks like she has a set of wings coming out of her head, and I have no idea why.
For me, there were only two interesting elements in this collection. One, the concept of secondary mutation. Mutants mutating further, for example, Angel develops a healing factor and Iceman begins to turn into ice, full time. Two, the idea that Juggernaut is not always such a bad guy. Some people would no doubt hate this aspect, but in a story as pedestrian as the one played out in Dominant Species, people should be grateful for small mercies.
In summary, this is officially the worst trade paper back collection I have read to date. 2 out of 10