Sunday, April 13, 2014

I Reads You RE-VIEWED: UNCANNY X-MEN Annual (Volume 2) #1


STORY: Chris Claremont and Tony Bedard
PENCILS: Clayton Henry
INKS: Mark Morales
COLORS: Christina Strain
LETTERS: VC’s Joe Caramagna
COVER: Leinil Francis Yu with Dave McCaig
48pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (August 2006)

I Dream of Africa: A Special Prelude to the Wedding of the Century

You may know that classic X-Men character, Storm (Ororo Munroe), and The Black Panther (T’Challa) were once married.  The wedding took place in the Black Panther comic book series that launched in 2005.  Black Panther later informed Storm that he had annulled the marriage (in Avengers vs. X-Men #9).

Leading up to the wedding (depicted in Black Panther #15), there were several “prelude” stories.  One of them appeared in Uncanny X-Men Annual (Vol. 2) #1 in a story entitled, “I Dream of Africa: A Special Prelude to the Wedding of the Century.”  This story was written by Chris Claremont and Tony Bedard and drawn by Clayton Henry (pencils) and Mark Morales (inks).

Uncanny X-Men Annual (Vol. 2) #1 followed events depicted in Uncanny X-Men #471.  Storm was in Africa to help her people.  In the city of Turkana, she discovers a military leader, Colonel Shetani, who is scouring the African countryside looking for mutants.  In addition to his men, Shetani uses child soldiers, called the Little Simbas, to terrorize locals.  Storm summons her friends, the X-Men for help.

Now, Storm is injured, and as she drifts in and out of consciousness, she is confronted by Black Panther’s proposal of marriage.  In dreams or perhaps in some other altered state, Storm meets her ex-lover, Forge, and she debates versions of Marvel Girl/Jean Grey and Kitty Pryde.  Meanwhile, the X-Men who came to her aid:  Bishop, Cannonball, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, and Rachel Summers, find themselves facing Shetani’s forces.  And these guys seem specifically equipped to kill mutants.

While digging through a pile of comic books a friend gave me, I found Uncanny X-Men Annual (Vol. 2) #1.  I initially planned on giving it away, but when I noticed that it was tied to the Black Panther-Storm wedding, I decided to read it.  I am glad I did because I enjoyed it.  I won’t act like this is a classic, but it does feature a number of X-Men elements of which I am a big fan.

First, it focuses on Storm and delves into her past (although in a broad way), and I love me some Storm.  I once wanted to be Storm (Gasp! Choke!).  Secondly, the story features the X-Men in combat, fighting for their lives, against opponents that are genuine threats to their continued existence.  In fact, this story is classic Chris Claremont Uncanny X-Men, but without the Claremont’s unique dialogue.  So readers get Claremont, just without the grandiosity (pomposity?) and soap opera affectation.

Once again, this isn’t great stuff, but it is a good X-Men comic book.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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