Uncanny X-Men: Rise & Fall of the Shi’ar Empire by Ed Brubaker


I came across this one at my local comic shop. As you know I am a sucker for anything in space, so naturally what could be better than the X-Men in space! As you can imagine I picked it up. The funny thing is that I had already bought War of Kings and was on my list to read, and would you believe it that this one kind of leads right into the War of Kings. I guess it is better to be lucky than good sometimes.

Brubaker is from Maryland and had been working in the industry for over 30 years. He got his start at Dark Horse Comics and has since then his career has taken off. He has worked for every major publisher on many different genres and titles. I have read a few of his works including Fear Itself: Book of the Skull, Incognito (which is an awesome book and I totally forgot about it!) and, Captain America: Reborn. He has also won 4 EisneIMG_1605r awards on separate occasions as well as two Harvey Awards. Ed is also an artist although I am not sure which books he has drawn on? Regardless he is talented and his skill has crossed over many different characters and genres.

This story is full of all kinds of action. First it starts out more or less explaining who Vulcan is and his background. Basically he is Cyclopes and Havok’s brother that you never knew IMG_1589about. From there the story follows Vulcan as he is out of control and decides to attack Shia’ar imperial ships basically just because he can. Back on Earth Professor X realizes that Vulcan is still alive, he had though Vulcan was killed in an earlier mission on Earth. Soon he gathers a group of X-Men to try and hunt Vulcan down before he can cause too much damage. Vulcan is an Omega Level mutant whose powers know almost no limit.IMG_1597 The Shia’ar Empire is in a state of flux and Vulcan uses his immense power to try and take control, while killing many of the famous and powerful Imperial Guard. Eventually Vulcan captures Professor X and is going to publically execute him as he has weaseled his way into the right hand of the Emperor D’ken. The X-Men are in a race to save the professor in time and defeat Vulcan before it is too late.

I liked this one, it has everything I like in a superhero comic. There is tons of action and a pretty good story to go along with it. When I say tons of action, I mean loads of it. There is almost a battle or some sort of fight scene on every page, makes for a very entertaining read.IMG_1595

There are quite a few different characters that make an appearance in this one. Don’t get me wrong, I love a space story as you know, but I am not that familiar with the Shi’ar Empire and all the important players. I did feel there was a ton of characters to keep track of during the story. There is also a bit of politicking (yes that is a word by the way)going on in this one which I think is kind of neat, as you do not normally get those ideas in a suIMG_1593perhero comic.

One thing that I this is good as well as bad about this one is the length. It is pretty long for a superhero story, but that is also a good thing as I feel most of the time stories are too short and don’t have enough depth. I am sure there are some fans out there that may not be a fan of the length, but to me I have always felt more is always better. It sucks when you find a cool story only to have it be over before you know it. That is not the casIMG_1592e here, there is a lot going on and plenty of depth to the story that will keep you entertained. There are a ton of avenues explored and will keep you interested and turning page after page.

The other cool thing I liked in this one was the super powered characters. I know what you are thinking, every superhero book has characters with super powers, duhhhh! Well this one has some of the most powerful going head to head. Vulcan vs. Gladiator is pretty cool and one of the best battles I had seen at the time I read this one, which was a few years ago. Still Gladiator is one of my favorite characters and I love it whenever he is involved in any sort of fight. Also this was the first time I had been introduced to Vulcan, so waIMG_1591tching him kick some serious butt was entreating as well. He is one of the most powerful Mutants I have seen. I guess Vulcan got all the power as Cyclopes and Havok have but a mere fraction of what their long lost brother got. I wonder if that makes family reunions awkward?

The artwork in this one is great, I have no complaints whatsoever. It is mostly a traditional styIMG_1590le with very deep and rich colors, just the way I like it, with loads of detail in every scene. All the fight scenes are superbly done, and are great to enjoy as you read the story. I feel like this is a generic art style as it the norm for most superhero comics but it really top notch. It is kind of sad to say that as the traditional style is great and I love it as there is such a high quality that goes into creating this style. I say it is sad because us as fans have come to dismiss this style as the norm, when in reality this style is of the up most quality. It isIMG_1599 very hard not to take it for granted, and I am guilty of that as well. The page layouts are very well done in this one as well, there is a surprise with every turn of the page. The colors are great, and they help complimeIMG_1602nt the artwork to bring to life some really cool scenes. If I am going to be very picky with the artwork I did feel there was an overuse of black outline and to an extent too much shading. I noticed that every scene had heavy outlines that made each scene a lot darker, but again I am being overly critical.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one, there is not a dull moment from start to finish. There is a ton going on and because the story is longer it can get into more aspects that most superhero books would simply skim over. Everything about the artwork is great and makes for wonderful visual experience. The other cool thing about this one is thIMG_1601at it is a very very early prelude to War of Kings. So it is not imperative to read this one first, but again the investment is pretty cool to see it all play out in WoK. At the end of this book there are a few pages that have some cool sketches and alternate page layouts that make for a cool addition. I highly recommend this one, it is a super fun and exciting read.IMG_1587




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