Following the epic X-Men event Messiah Complex, all the major X-Men title underwent a reshuffle. To be honest, it's easy to get confused with what is currently going on in the X-Universe. Following Messiah Complex (MC), the X-Men are divided, hence the whole confusing "Divided We Stand" tag line, which is used across a couple of the titles. Uncanny X-Men "Divided We Stand" collects issues #495-499 of the Uncanny X-Men, and was written by Ed Brubaker.


The Uncanny X-Men seems to drop the pre-MC team of X-Men in favor of picking up with Cyclops and Emma Frost as they ponder the death/disappearance of Professor X while holidaying in the Savage Land. Cyclops is particularly broody as he contemplates whether or not to bring the X-Men back together. The two are eventually drawn to San Francisco when things there get weird. San Francisco has gone back to an idolized 1960's version of itself, and the X-Men that are there, Angel, Warpath and a few others, are all brainwashed into thinking they are flower children.

Meanwhile Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Colossus are on a holiday of their own in Russia, and for no apparent reason stumble upon the Russian version of the Weapon X program, curious as to why the X-Men retain their powers while all their mutants have been rendered powerless, following M-Day.

Long story short, both stories resolve themselves with little major impact upon any of the characters. There are two things that this book does that will set the direction for future Uncanny X-Men stories. Firstly, San Francisco is the new X-Men base of operations. Secondly, there appears to be a new "Sisterhood of Mutants" getting together.

Given that this collection was written by Ed Brubaker I have to say I was a little disappointed. I'd expected more. Sadly, this book is quite forgettable, ask me what happened in it a few months from now, and I will probably have forgotten. It's not the worst book I've read, but by the same token, it's all fairly stock standard X-Men fare. I'll pick up the next collection, but if it's on a par with this, then I think it might be time for me to give the Uncanny X-Men a break for a while.

Overall, I'd give this book <b>5 out of 10</b>.

Uncanny X-Men: Divided We Stand Brubaker, Ed
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Uncanny X-Men (1963) #496 VF/NM 9.0 Marvel Comics Divided We Stand
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Uncanny X-Men: Divided We Stand TPB (Uncanny X-M, Ed Brubaker, Excellent
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Uncanny X-Men #498 Divided We Stand: Part 4! Brubaker & Choi!
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2007 MARVEL COMICS UNCANNY X-MEN DIVIDED WE STAND PROMO CARD
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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

UNCANNY X-MEN VOL. 2 DOMINANT SPECIES: MARVEL COMICS CHUCK AUSTEN
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UNCANNY XMEN VOLUME 2 DOMINANT SPECIES TPB By Chuck Austen *Excellent Condition*
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Uncanny X-Men: Dominant Species by Austen, Chuck 1904159230 The Fast Free
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I picked up the trade paper back Uncanny X-Men Volume 1: Hope TPB (Uncanny X-Men) in a nick and dent sale with relatively low expectations. Why? The book carried Chuck Austen's name on the cover, the guy that has been roundly criticized for steering the title directly in to some of its more disappointing moments.

This trade paper collects Uncanny X-Men issues #410-415, and covers off a couple of story arcs. The first deals with the team sent on a rescue mission only to learn that it is the Juggernaut they have been sent to help. Black Tom Cassidy is smack bang in the middle of a secondary mutation, and Juggernaut needs help. Fairly stock standard stuff. The early issues also deal with Professor X tracking down a young mutant named Sammy who has a fish like appearance. We are also introduced to Annie, a nurse caring for a comatose patient that later turns out to be Havok.

Uncanny X-Men: Hope on Amazon.comIn the final two issues, Northstar joins the undermanned group, at the request of Xavier, to assist them to bring in an explosive mutant child unable to control his powers. The big revelation for me here was that Northstar is gay, and has a crush on Bobby Drake (aka. Iceman), who happens to be going through a secondary mutation of his own.

By the end of the collection, Austen seems to have all his players in the game, and it feels like I've just read six issues of 'set-up'. One of the problems with issues #410-415 seems to be that Austen was operating with the X-Men 'C' grade squad to a certain extent. Angel? I've never been a huge fan. Stacy X? Pheromone powers? I've read Austen quoted as saying he wanted to "inject some soap" into his Uncanny X-Men run, which seems to be the exact result he achieved. Is that a good thing? I'm not so sure. A love triangle between Angel, Stacy X and Husk? I'm not sure that I could have been less interested. The whole unrequited love angle doesn't work for me either. The Annie/Havok and Northstar/Iceman thing just didn't float my boat. I want to read an X-Men story, not a rejected script from the OC. » Read the rest of the entry..

The Dark Phoenix Saga is arguably the most recognised and referenced stories in the X-Men catalogue. It has served as the inspiration for much of the original X-Men animated series, as well as the X-Men live action movies. The Dark Phoenix saga is featured in X-Men Vol. 1 #129-138 during 1980, and now collected in trade paper back X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga.

When talking about the Dark Phoenix Saga, it's important to know that originally the Phoenix actually was Jean Grey, at the height of her powers, and was not simply a cosmic entity linked to her, as is the case since the character was retconned by Marvel in later issues.

In an earlier arc, Jean Grey was exposed to radiation from a solar flare, which unlocked her powers so she achieved all her telepathic and telekinetic potential. She turned into a 'being of pure thought', and upon reforming herself once she returned to Earth, took on a new costume, identity and wielded the power of the "Phoenix". After repairing the damaged M'Kraan Crystal, she saw the danger her powers posed on voluntarily kept them under control. These events led into the Dark Phoenix saga...

Recognising her immense power, Jean Grey became the target of Mastermind, as he attempted to gain the favour of the Hellfire Club. With the help of the White Queen, an evil Emma Frost, Mastermind (aka. Jason Wyngarde) projected his illusions directly into Jean Grey's mind, making her believe that she was actually living in period times as Lady Grey, Wyngarde's lover. Through Mastermind's manipulations, Jean Grey joined the Hellfire Club as the Black Queen, a role that lead to the breaking of the barriers she had created to keep the Phoenix under control.

When the X-Men came to her rescue, her love for Cyclops broke the psychic hold Mastermind had over her. At the same time though, the last of the psychic barriers keeping the Phoenix in check was also broken. Jean Grey's mind and body was taken over, and she called herself the "Dark Phoenix".

After a brief battle in which the Dark Phoenix hand the X-Men their asses on a silver platter, Dark Phoenix grew hungry, created a wormhole, and disappeared, transporting herself to another galaxy, devouring the power of a star, which in turn went nova, causing the deals of billions of innocent aliens in the process. A passing Shi'ar space craft spotted the carnage, and attacked the Dark Phoenix, in an effort to stop any further destruction. Before they were destroyed, the Shi'ar were able to transmit a message to their Empress Lilandra, warning her of the threat. Lilandra gathered a posse of intergalactic butt kickers, including the Kree and Skrull empires, who all came to the same conclusion. The Dark Phoenix was bad news, a bigger threat than Galactus, and needed to be stopped immediately.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the X-Men and Beast (who was a member of the Avengers at the time), devised a plan that would nullify the powers of the Dark Phoenix long enough for them to defeat her. Lucky for them, because before they could say 'Magneto's hairy nipple', the Dark Phoenix had returned to earth. Their plan worked and Professor X was able to rebuild some psychic circuit breakers, in order to keep the Dark Phoenix's powers at a more manageable level.

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Bad luck comes in threes, so the Shi'ar arrive, abducting the X-Men, informing them that the Dark Phoenix had killed billions and had been sentenced to death. Professor X, who was tapping Lilandra at the time, challenged the Shi'ar to a duel of honour. If the Shi'ar won, the Dark Phoenix would be killed, if the X-Men won, she would be granted mercy.
» Read the rest of the entry..

'Messiah Complex' was the biggest storyline to hit the X-Men franchise since the 'House of M'. It's one of those "must read" story arcs if you intend to follow the adventures of any of the X-Men teams from 2008 onward. Messiah Complex is told over 13 chapters, beginning with the X-Men: Messiah Complex one-shot, and then continuing in four of the X-Men monthlys, Uncanny X-Men #492-494, X-Factor #25-27, New X-Men #44-46 and X-Men #205-207. Following on from Messiah Complex, all four 'X-Books' underwent a relaunch, based upon the outcome of Messiah Complex.

To follow the events in Messiah Complex I'd recommend reading 'The House of M' arc as well as the X-Men 'Supernovas' and 'Blinded by the Lights' collections.

The Messiah Complex story really began at the conclusion of the House of M, and the event known as 'M-Day', in which a vast majority of the mutant population was de-powered. The X-Gene itself has all but disappeared, and there have been no new mutant births since M-Day. With mutants bordering on extinction, Messiah Complex begins with the explosive birth, literally, of a mutant. This sparks a race between the X-Men, Mr Sinister and the Marauders, the Acolytes, the Reavers, the Purifiers, and Predator X to see who will get to the child first. Clearly each group has it's own motivations, and the line between good and evil begins to blur in some cases. » Read the rest of the entry..

The Wolverine: Origins movie is set to hit cinemas some time in 2009. Besides the release of a couple of official images as well as casting announcements, not a lot else about the movie has made it out... until now.

I was trawling through some comics forums when I found some screen shots taken from the X-Men Origins: Wolverine teaser trailer screened recently at Comic-Con in the US. I've done a little cropping of the photos and tried to tidy them up, with limited success. They are obviously screen captures from footage taken with a video camera, so don't expect pristine picture quality.

Let's start with a couple of shots of young Wolverine. These seem to be very close to a couple of the panels from the Wolverine Origin series. Take note of the bone claws.


» Read the rest of the entry..

There have been a couple of attempts now to bring Marvel's favorite band of mutants to the small screen in cartoon form. The latest incarnation is "Wolverine and the X-Men". With the Wolverine movie set to hit the big screen in 2009, it makes sense for the cartoon to try and cash in on one of Marvel's most bankable commodities.

The first full length trailer for the new "Wolverine and the X-Men" series is posted below. I have to say, I'm not all that impressed with the 'cookie cutter' standard of animation on show here. I was expecting a little more. Eagle eyed Marvel spotters will notice a brief cameo from the Hulk, which makes me wonder how many other Marvel characters will cross over. » Read the rest of the entry..

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