Uncanny X-Men #516 Review: The Dogs of War

Hey everyone, jrpbsp here… Things are hectic this week and will be next week too, leading up to my wedding and honeymoon. But I am going to try to get through the three reviews for the week starting with ‘Uncanny X-Men’.  Hope you enjoy.

Uncanny X-Men #516 coverUncanny X-Men #516 (preview)
Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciler: Greg Land
Inker: Jay Leisten

SPOILERS BELOW…

RECAP: The issue opens with Scalphunter waking up in the dark as a captive. He is suspended over a pit filled with Predator Xs. His captors offer Greycrow a choice; do a job for them or be eaten. His answer is obvious.

On Utopia, Magneto’s appearance has caused quite a stir. He is confronted by Xavier but he addresses Scott. Magneto takes off his helmet as a show of faith. Xavier takes him up  on the lack of mental protection and attacks his mind. Magneto begins to fight back but is quickly overwhelmed. Scott steps in and orders Charles to stand down and the Professor backs off.

Back with Scalphunter we learn that his task is to deliver the Predator X creatures. Magneto reacts to the confrontation by falling to his knees and offering praise to Scott.

We then see Scalphunter is given a C-17 plane that has the monsters loaded on board. He is ordered to deliver the Predator Xs to Utopia and he is told that he was chosen because he is a mutant. The leader says that they do not want to kill mutants but rather save mutantkind.

Scott orders Betsy to keep a watch on Magneto’s thoughts and gives the man a chance to talk. He relates his events with the High Evolutionary and getting his powers back due to a machine built from the Sleeping Celestrial. But the process was a dead end and the equipment was destroyed in the process.

Magneto returned to Earth since Scott had united the remaining mutants and Magneto wanted to make sure they can go out with dignity. Scott relates the story of the first mutant birth, Hope. They are interrupted by Wolverine reporting a problem.

They have detected Scalphunter’s plane and he is requesting an emergency landing and sanctuary. Scott does not trust the former Marauder and orders the Kurt to check out the plane while the others get the noncombatants to safety. Kurt sees the Predators and immediately returns telling Scott to shoot the plane down. The issue ends with Cyclops ordering everyone to battle stations.

MY TAKE: This was a decent if underwhelming issue that dealt with two interlocking, but separate, stories. Magneto’s return is interesting but not a very engaging plot. The character development is logical but  a little bit surprising. He has always been a proud and arrogant man and seeing him on his knees and surrendering so easily just did not work very well.

The plot was basic and a kind of boring in fact. We have Scalphunter being given his mission and Magneto returning and seemingly joining the fold. But that is very little action for an entire issue. Most of the space was taken up by dialogue but not much was said that was important. Several pages were simply recaps of recent developments and many others had few panels.

I am also not sure about the sudden change in Xavier’s personality. He has always been a voice of reason and friendship and yet here he attacks first and without any true provocation. I understand that the bullet to his head changed him, but he and Magneto have always been able to talk. To see Charles refuse to believe anything but the worse of his old friend was jarring.

I am glad that Magneto has returned however. He is a very complex and original character and there are some great stories that can come from his involvement in the new status quo. If nothing else it gives the X-Men another power player and someone that can compel loyalty and obedience from some of the more radical remaining mutants. Still I would have preferred his return be a bit more in tune with his established personality.

The side plot with the new group and the Predator Xs has potential although I am not sure how much a threat five creatures will be to an island of mutants. Still it will likely lead to a more action-oriented issue next month and hopefully an bit more information on team that captured Scalphunter and set the plot into motion.

In the end this was a pretty well-written issue but one where not much happened. After I finished reading it my reaction was more in the line of ‘Is that all?’ then anything else. While it is nice to give Magneto’s return proper respect, more needed to occur in the story for it to be good. Hopefully with this setup out of the way we can get back into some more complex stories.

Thanks for reading my review for Wolverine Files. I will be keeping to this format for the most part but please keep the comments coming and I will see everyone again next time.

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