“Utopia” Part 1
Writer: Matt Fraction
Pencils: Marc Silvestri, with assists by Michael Broussard, Eric Basaldua, Tyler Kirkham, & Sheldon Mitchell
Inks: Joe Weems, with Marco Galli, Eric Basaldua, Rick Basaldua, Jason Gorder, Jay Leisten, Sal Regla, Jon Sibal, & Ryan Winn
Colors: Frank D’Armata
I’ve made no bones about having some serious love for the post-Messiah CompleX X-Men Universe.Â They’ve always been one of Marvel’s biggest sellers, and are consistently strong titles, but the entire Universe has become a fairly solid, tangible thing ever since Messiah CompleX ended (Well, excluding that recent Sisterhood mess).Â But in the world of the Dark Reign, the X-Men have essentially been left to their own devices in their new safe haven of San Francisco, while Norman Osborn marches onward throughout the rest of the Marvel Universe, tearing up everything he sees before him.Â Finally, the two paths collide with the six part “Utopia” storyline.
The catalyst for all this is the reappearance of Simon Trask and the “Humanity Now!” coalition.Â When a group of younger X-Men spark a riot at a protest for Trask’s coalition marching in to San Francisco, the media captures it all.Â Reluctantly held responsible is Scott Summers, who is viewed by the general public as the leader of the Mutant race, despite his very loud protest to this.Â Regardless, the city of San Francisco erupts in a wave of anti-mutant hysteria and violence, and Norman Osborn decides action must be taken.Â With Scott’s lover Emma Frost secretly working for him in his Dark Cabal, an imprisoned Hank McCoy and at least one other surprise prisoner, Norman surprises the world by declaring Scott Summers a person of interest in the ensuing riots, and having Charles Xavier himself declare the Xavier Institute had no part in the riot, and pleading with Scott to surrender himself.
The story has a few twists and turns in it (The biggest one, I’ve obviously left out of the synopsis above).Â The idea of their being anti-mutant hysterics is nothing new, but the story clearly states they’re at an all time high, which is confusing.Â How are they at an all time high when there are less than 200 in the entire world?Â Â Â Humanity knows the mutants are slowly becoming extinct, so surely there aren’t that many hysterics left.Â There’s also Emma and Norman’s secret pact, where Emma’s motivation seems to be rooted in anger at Scott for inadvertantly taking a postition as leader of the mutant race.Â It is, regardless, a very snappy, well written issue.Â And hey, look, there’s no Wolverine!Â Something you won’t even notice. When an X-Book can tell an entire story without relying on its cash-cow, its something worth noting.
Silvestri is on the art chores here, but even with the bajillion people assisting him, there’s still some iffy moments.Â For instance, his rendition of Armor looks less young dorky Japanese mutant and more 17 year old Asian supermodel.
And then there’s the cut-scene to the Baxter Building, where Franklin is growing concerned that people hate him, while Reed tinkers with something, and Sue begs to be captioned with “I’m sciencing!”
Regardless, anything more than two feet in the background and there’s not even an attempt to detail it.Â Acceptable in the book’s early pages with mobs of people, not so much in scenes with three or four people.
There’s plenty of other instances I could post, since as I’m sure you gathered from those pages, 90% of the people are exact duplicates.
Either way, with Scott Summers on the run and a team of Dark X-Men showing up next month in Uncanny X-Men #513 (a team which includes Namor, Cloak, Dagger, and Exiles mainstay Mimic), “Utopia” is far from over, and still shows promise to be a fantastically written X-Men story.Â The writing on this issue is decent enough, and aside from the impasses mentioned the art is still very easy on the eyes.Â Bearing all that in mind, I’m forced to give this issue a C+.Â Worth picking up if you’re an X-Men fan, but borrow a friends if you’ve only got a passing interest.