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Uncanny X-Men #429

Posted: Saturday, August 9, 2003
By: Paul Brian McCoy



ďThe Draco part 1 of 6: Sins of the FatherĒ

Writer: Chuck Austen
Artist: Philip Tan

Publisher: Marvel

Plot:
Kurt steals the jet, Lorna is left in the infirmary, and the rest of the gang head off to Isla Des Demonas off the coast of Florida, following Kurtís trail to an excavation sight of an ancient mutant civilization.

Comments:
Having heard all the hostility toward Austinís take on the X-Men with only a few lone voices speaking up for him, I thought Iíd take a look at the latest issue and see what all the fuss was about. Iíll be honest with you. I hadnít picked up an X-title since Claremont and JRJR worked on the original book. I missed out on all the spin-offs and remain fairly ignorant regarding most of the events from the late eighties through around the turn of the century. I checked things out when Ellis was brought in to add some spice to some of the titles, but most of those petered out pretty quickly once he turned them over to his henchmen. It wasnít until Morrison and Milligan took over a couple of books that I really came back into the fold. I still wasnít interested in the other X-titles, though. And from what Iíve heard, Austen is kind of like the anti-christ among some readers.

Well, I donít see it. I can understand some fuss about the way that he messes with the continuity (the whole ďhow old is KurtĒ argument, for example Ė which actually turns out to be editorial tinkering, rather than Austenís view of the character), and apparently there are some religious issues Austen seems to be working out in his scripts. Regardless, this issue of Uncanny X-Men was extremely traditional in its subject matter and the way the characters interacted. I was especially interested in the conversation between Xavier and his brother, Juggernaut. This is not the Juggernaut of old, for sure. This is a more realized and developed character. It is refreshing to see writers take a chance and explore the personalities and motivations of characters that have been traditionally portrayed as brainless thugs. Oversimplification is the bane of this industry, so I liked what I read. It seemed very Claremont-esque in its soap-opera-drama potential. Austenís characterization of Lorna was interesting as well. Sheís a vicious character that I wasnít expecting. I must admit, however, that the idea of an ancient civilization of mutants strikes me as pretty silly.

Artistically, this issue was hit-or-miss for me. At first, I really liked the way Tan played with shadow and light. His Nightcrawler is very nicely presented and effectively demonic-looking. Seeing as how when he was first introduced into the series he was being hunted by gypsies who thought he was a demon, I thought the look was appropriate, especially considering the tone and events of the previous and current storylines. However, the art lost me as the rest of the team was brought into the picture. The villains of the piece, what we see of them, seem very interestingly designed, paralleling the X-Men to some degree, while sustaining a thoroughly barbaric feel at the same time.

Final Word:
This seems pretty faithful to the spirit of the old Claremont Uncannys. If I still liked that sort of thing, I wouldnít have many problems with Austenís interpretation. Visually, I liked some of it, didnít like other parts. Overall, this is an interesting issue and the start of a new storyline always tends to be a little slower than the issues that follow. It kept my interest.



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