It has been awhile since I could say an issue of Uncanny X-Men was totally awesome. This issue blows the 500th anniversary issue out of the park and should not be missed by any X-Fan!

Brief plot synopsis:

After moving from Westchester, NY to San Francisco, CA only an issue ago, the X-Men are riding high and clearly enjoying the bright sunny weather and their new change of scene. Especially the young mutant Pixie, who is enjoying a night out on the town with her significant other. Things quickly go awry, however, as Pixie and her friend are lynched by a group of mutant hating, hockey mask wearing gang of men who call themselves The Hellfire Cult. After dealing with the Friends of Humanity on the East Coast, the X-Men must now face this adversity in their new environment and Cyclops isn’t happy…

Some thoughts on the issue:

-Both Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction do a stellar job on this issue. Where Uncanny X-Men #500 was flat and exposition filled, Uncanny X-Men #501 is the exact opposite. Both writers capture the fresh energy of the team as they adapt to their new location, and are able to create a West Coast feel, as it is more vibrant and lively than the East Coast. I especially enjoyed the scene where the X-Men are just hanging out at the new mansion. Moments like this are few and far between, and it is a breath of fresh air to see the X-Men kicking back, enjoying each others company, shooting the ‘stuff’.

-Artist Greg Land does great work setting the scene, as the X-Men come across as younger, hipper, and happier than they were on the East Coast. I highly commend Land for making Emma Frost look hot once again. Emma hasn’t looked this good in a long long time, and it’s nice to finally see her be the sexy vixen she’s supposed to be, especially when naked. That’s right: naked. Still, Land could use more variety as most of his women look similar, even though they’re always attractive!

-The cast is a good mix as it includes Cyclops, Emma Frost, Angel, Colossus, Beast, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Pixie. I wouldn’t be surprised if more mutants show up within the next few issues.

-It’s worth mentioning that Emma and Scott’s relationship has definitely evolved over the last few years, and it no longer seems like a forced convention. In this issue, the couple comes across as loving, committed, steamy, and sexy.

-I used to hate Cyclops, especially in the 90’s, but I’ve definitely done a 180 on the character as he’s turned into a total bad ass. It’s clear Scott is no longer Xavier’s golden boy as he isn’t afraid to make the hard decisions. Wolverine respects the guy, and that’s saying something.

-Some one liners:

“Warren Worthington. Angel. Flight. CEO Worthington Industries. Skajillionaire.” – Narration Bubble

“Am I imagining things, or are we all much more… squirrelly… since moving to San Francisco? Not just you and I– All of the X-Men seem much more sex-saturated…” – Emma Frost

“Whatever you say, Warren… Anything to make this awful morning commute go faster.” – Cyclops

“Besides, everybody on this bridge will spend the next day and [a] half telling everyone they know that the coolest thing they ever saw… was the Uncanny X-Men driving to work.” – Cyclops

**MINOR SPOILERS- SKIP TO ‘THE FINAL WORD’ BELOW IF YOU MUST**

I’ve never given spoilers before in my reviews, but I’m so pumped about this issue, I need to talk about a few things:

-Cyclops is setting up multiple bases in the mountains of Marin which are intended to be used as safe havens for all mutants, powers or not. This is very interesting as a move like this seems like something out of Magneto’s playbook as opposed to Xavier’s… remember Asteroid M?

-It was revealed in this issue that Beast is ‘devolving’ as his hands are now more dexterous than ever since his secondary mutation. Does this mean that he is losing his secondary mutation? If so, will others be losing theirs as well?

-The X-Men’s company name, Graymalkin Industries, was a funny touch.

**END SPOILERS**

The final word:

This book was my first ever 5 star rating and deservedly so as it was highly enjoyable. If you’ve been off the X-Wagon for awhile, and are looking for a convenient time to start reading again, this issue and the one that preceeded it are your perfect jumping on points. Make no mistake, Uncanny X-Men #501 is a must have for all X-Men fans and comic book readers alike!

5/5 stars

Uncanny X-Men #501

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