Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Review: Uncanny X-Men #510

What movie is this from? It looks familiar, but I can't quite place it. Anyway, it's been filtered through the pencil magic of Greg Land for this week's "Uncanny X-Men" #510 which is a pretty kickass issue about the Red Queen's assault on the X-HQ.

Flipping back and forth between this week's "Uncanny" and the Jim Lee stuff reprinted in "X-Men Forever Alpha" shows the shocking difference between the more open, airy visuals of today vs. the overly packed panels of the early 1990s. Man is that Jim Lee X-Men stuff hideous! Say what you will about Greg Land -- and I'll be the first to admit that he's just doing collage at this point -- but it's a hell of a lot easier on the eyes than a billion random shading lines and those pouches and rippling muscles.

Plus, this comic has the Matt Fraction advantage. Read my review: Uncanny X-Men #510

And, just for kicks, here's a sample of that atrocious Jim Lee stuff that turned me off his work back then and is supposed to make us interested in picking up this new Claremont-penned series:

No thanks. (And is that really even Jim Lee? It looks like it was drawn by assistants.)


B. Woodworth said...

Heh, Lee's X-Men and WildC.A.T.S. work was what I left comics on for about five years before I found Frank Miller's Daredevil/Dark Knight materials in tradepaperback form.

I still have a soft spot for Lee's artwork, but was kind of letdown by some of his later work in the Absolute Edition of Superman: For Tomorrow.

I dunno that anyone does better bombastic fight scenes than Jim Lee.

Aside: What are the odds on the Morrison/Lee WildC.A.T.S. ever getting finished?

Vanja said...

I don't mind Lee's art so much, as the random nature of the stories at the time. Something about Power-Skrulls, and even that seemed squeezed between two giant X-Men crossovers.

Matt Jacobson (formerly Ultimate Matt) said...

I like Lee's work, on the right project. As I said before, I think he's the ONLY artist for All-Star Batman - the book wouldn't work without him. I don't know, when I was 12 and just getting obsessed with comics, he was pretty much Michaelangelo to me, so I have a soft spot for him anyway.

I think (nowadays), he's capable of more range and subtlety in his work than he's usually credited with.

B. Woodworth said...

I concur on the All-Star front. I both love and loathe that book at the same time. It is just so darn campy that it's good to me. I love the art and think that Lee brings his 'A'-game to every Batman project he's been involved with. Pure hopefuly speculation on my part, but I'm kind of hoping he's a big-time possibility of jumping on the tail-end of this Grant Morrison Batman and Robin run (early reports don't sound like Quitely's on for the full run, do they?). I mean, when did the last issue of All-Star come out anyways?

As long as Lee isn't credited as a writer, as in the case of that surfer-dude becomes a Superhero-God series, I'm good.

Matt Jacobson (formerly Ultimate Matt) said...

I completely concur on your Greg Land comments, Tim, except I feel much more strongly. He COMPLETELY ruined this issue to the point of making it damn near unreadable - about halfway through, I just started skimming the dialogue. They really need to get a halfway decent artists for the arcs Dodson can't do, because Land is destroying Fraction's work.

Shecky Shabazz said...

Tim, you should do a column about just what it means that today's comics are more openly laid out than comics of the nineties and before. This occured to me when I read the latest issue of Legion of three Worlds. I didn't really love the comic itself, but at some point it dawned on me that you really don't get comics with that many panels any more, and that that's a shame. I really do feel that I pay too much money for too little story nowadays. Not pages, mind you, story. The difference between the comics of before and the comics of today becomes explicitly clear in the transition between the panelheavy pages and the doublepage spread where Superboy reappears to punch Superguy Prime. That just seems like a waste of pages, and it really sticks out as a sore thumb flow-wise. Perez is a good penciller and he'd be perfectly able to pull off the same emotional impact in one page.

I for one would be more inclined to pay $3.99 (and beyond) for comics that featured a lot of panels, rather than the by now obligatory splash pages.

Timothy Callahan said...


It seems like the decompression in contemporary comics has been written about to death, but maybe I could add my perspective. I was thinking about doing it by looking at a random series -- like a Batman, or Spider-Man, or Superman, something that's been around for a while -- sampling an issue from say the past four decades (like May 1969, May 1979, May 1989, May 1999, May 2009) and dissecting the storytelling differences. That would be cool WWC column, I think.

Shecky Shabazz said...

Could you point me towards some good and comprehensive articles on the subject? Because all I ever seem to come across is two or three sentences jammed in on the back end of reviews.

That said, your idea sounds like it would make a good column.

Augie De Blieck Jr. said...

Nope, I'll still take 1992 Jim Lee over post-Birds of Prey Greg Land anyday. Give me lots of detail, splashy images, and bright colorings over, well, Photoshop.

The interesting artistic thing to watch in adjectiveless X-Men is the way Jim Lee's art morphed into Art Thibert's. Lee was doing less and less of the work on the book with Thibert doing more "finishes," until finally Thibert took over as the artist for a couple of issues and you almost couldn't tell by that point. (Thibert had stiffer figures and trouble with anatomy, by comparison to Lee, that made it stand out more.)