krisis's The Uncanny X-Men #372 - Shatttering Chapter One: Rude Awakenings review

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Not all that it appears to be

Uncanny X-Men #372 is an issue of transition – both for the team and their storyline. It's also full of a sharp-tongued Xavier, and his berating of the team can be hard to bear.

Story & Script 
Plotter Alan Davis and scripter Terry Kavanagh lay the groundwork for upcoming storylines. They aren't exactly subtle, but without the context of the issues that follow this is a bit of a bore – a book of Professor Xavier cruelly chastising his students, two irrelevant pages of Bishop in space, and an appearance from the unfortunate-in-every-way Mannites.

However, there's more here than meets the eye. The Professor's behavior tracks with the resolution of The Shattering storyline, and on re-read you can almost feel the thought bubbles implied by some of the frames here. I always enjoy an issue that rewards re-reading, and though this one isn't exactly revelatory, it's definitely more fun the second time.

Artwork
Adam Kubert sketches an interesting mix of his brother's more stately character work and Chris Bachalo's animated style (though he doesn't have the hint of super-deformed influence of Bachalo). 

I enjoy the result – the art is very comic book-y, but with the power to illustrate serious moments, and without hyper-exaggerated physiques. The combination means he actually delivers a compelling set of Mannites, which I otherwise despise. Also, he's one of the few artists to really nail a signature look for Marrow.

Some of the page layouts are a little confusing. The flow of Kubert's art repeatedly leads you down a single page when you're supposed to travel across a full spread. The technique gets more misleading as the issue unfurls, but then breaks for two three-by-two spreads – requiring a major reorientation to read.

Bottom Line
On first read I didn't like this issue very much – not much happens, and Xavier's withering nastiness to the team is painful to read  With the context of the next few issues (and the Astonishing X-Men limited series) Xavier's actions can be more fully appreciated – as can the issue.

Even then, it's an unexciting stand-a-lone – but, at least it makes a bit more sense.

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