Uncanny X-Men #517 Review: Swimming Predators

Hey, everyone, jrpbsp here… For my second review we have the next chapter of Nation X in ‘Uncanny X-Men’ . Hope you enjoy it.

Uncanny X-Men #517 (preview | thread)
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Greg Land

SPOILERS BELOW…

RECAP: The issue opens with Nightcrawler telling Scott to shoot down the invading plane. Once Cyclops hears that there are five Predator Xs on board he blasts the jet from the air. Four of the monsters, and Scalphunter, survive the crash and begin to swim to shore. Cyclops readies the X-Men into two strike teams while Namor goes alone to tackle the first Predator to arrive.

The other monsters arrive in a group and Cyclops, the Cuckoos, Magneto, Betsy and Northstar attack one while Wolverine, Colossus, Iceman and Meltdown tackle the other. Rogue and Emma stay behind with the younger mutants to protect them. Magneto is able to strip the metal skin from one creature leaving it vulnerable. Iceman then freezes it and Colossus tackles it forcing the mouth open. Tabitha then drops a time bomb down its throat and it is finished.

Magneto is too exhausted to continue and Kurt ports him away. The rest of the team focuses on another Predator while the final one slips into the base looking to kill the younger mutants. Meanwhile Namor is still struggling with a Predator under the sea. But soon more of his Atlantians come to help, one of the warriors shooting a spear through the creatures neck.

The X-Men are not having much luck dropping their second Predator X. Jeffries blasts it with metal fragments and then Storm joins the fray and hits it with a massive lightning bolt. Cyclops blasts it again to keep it stunned and moves to check on the others. Facing the final Predator, Rogue takes the powers of seven of the Young X-Men and using them together is able to defeat the monster by herself, combining Dust’s and Armor’s powers to attack the monster from the inside.

Wolverine and Proudstar are trying to finish off the last enemy when the Cuckoos suddenly collapse and the Phoenix force leaves them. The others are thrown clear as the last remaining Predator charges Scott and is killed by a shot from Scalphunter. Scott takes charge in the aftermath ordering Scalphunter to the X-Brig, Emma to have Psionic help to remove the Void fragment and investigation into the origin of the Predators started. It ends with Greycrow meeting Danger in the virtual prison.

MY TAKE: This is a good and action-packed issue with a wide range of X-Men and their supporting cast. The plot was pretty weak considering the entire issue spanned only a few minutes worth of a battle, but the fast pace made it a real page turner. It did a good job at highlighting both the strengths and weaknesses of the current X-Men team and even had a few good lines of dialogue mixed in.

Rogue in particular really stood out, especially her ability to take the powers of seven mutants and combine them all together to become a nearly unstoppable force. I did not really like how the New X-Men were portrayed like as scared and unsure  but it did lead to a very impressive scene with Rogue stretching herself to save them. She is fast becoming a must-read character.

There was one very interesting plot development though, the release of the Phoenix Force. Now we have seen the same thing twice which hopefully means that Jean is nearing her big return. Of course it could be going to Hope or some other host but it would be nice to see Jean back, the X-Men could use a cosmic level defender for the island. I am just glad that the Phoenix Force leaving Rachel is finally being followed up upon.

Still there were a number of small problems with the issue. Characters appeared and disappeared for no discernible reason, like Betsy showing up for a single panel and then never again. Or Jeffries popping up to help fight seemingly out of nowhere. Also the squads were confused with members jumping back and forth between the fights so that it was hard to tell who was fighting which creature. It also made no sense that the defeated Predator got back up fully healed and there were only a couple people there to fight it rather then the whole team. The latter did lead to an amusing scene with Cyclops though.

In the end the issue still read well and it was entertaining enough to look past the somewhat confused scenes. I am glad to see that they are going to deal with Emma’s mental corruption and that Magneto is being shown as human rather then all powerful. The story arc looks to have interesting developments happening now and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the arc to see how everything falls out.

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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