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Utopia 1 – 6

utopia1Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Marc Silvestri, Terry Dodson, Luke Ross, and Mike Deodato
Marvel  $3.99

Contributed by Chris Eastwood

Anyone who has read the X-Men knows that they are at their best when things are at their worst. With our favorite Mutants moving to the west coast and Spider-man’s mortal enemy calling the shots in the Marvel Universe, it was only a matter of time before things went bad.

The story begins when Simon Trask, brother to Bolivar, comes to the city by the Bay looking to show the X-Men the what for. Naturally this does not sit well with the X-Men and the other mutants that have gathered in San Francisco, and a riot ensues which attracts the attention of Norman Osborne and his Dark Avengers. Soon after Osborne arrives he declares martial law and declares Cyclops a wanted criminal, as well as revealing his plan to Emma Frost, who defects to Osborne’s side to lead his newly formed Dark X-Men.

Fraction’s story has a strong beginning, not wasting any time getting to the action and the meat of the story, allowing the reader to experience the “WTF” moment that the characters experience themselves. This stride doesn’t continue through to the next issues. The middle issues deal mostly with the Dark X-Men coming together and trying to work as a team as well as dealing with Osborne and his team.  Fraction does little in introducing the reader to the members of Osborne Dark Avengers of the new characters that become his Dark X-Men, as most of them are characters that we already know. I also recommend reading the Dark X-Men: the Beginning miniseries that reintroduces each member of the Dark X-Men and shows just how Osborne got each member to join.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have really enjoyed Matt Fraction’s time on Uncanny X-Men. He, IMHO, has breathed new life into a franchise that, although has been commercially successful, has not changed much in premise in the last 50 years. He has taken Cyclops from the leader of a team of superheroes to the leader of a group of people struggling to survive. Fraction’s conclusion keeps with this theme and although I have no desire to reveal it here, it is worth reading the story.  Utopia may very well be Fraction’s best X-Men story so far, and I give it 4.5 out of 5.

September 29, 2009
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