Uncanny X-Men #535

Title: Breaking Point, part one
Written by: Kieron Gillen
Art by: Terry Dodson
Cover: Terry and Rachel Dodson
Release Date: April 13, 2011

Ever since Kitty returned with little pomp and circumstance, getting back into X-Men has been an uphill battle for me; not only are there far too many titles to choose from, but Nightcrawler got killed off (a close second favorite after Kitty.) But thankfully, Gillen and Dodson’s opening issue of “Breaking Point” not only reminds me of all the reasons why I love X-Men, but sets up a worthy sequel to Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men.

Uncanny #535 brings Kitty back into the fold,  still in permanent-phase mode after returning from space within a giant bullet (see Astonishing to refresh your memory)–but an insulated suit helps her travel around. Meanwhile, Agent Brand contacts the X-Men, as a giant warship from Breakworld (hint: where that bullet came from) is heading for Earth, and that can only mean trouble.In the opening scene, Kitty and Colossus are on a date at the beach when…Namor and a giant fish robot leap out of the sea and duke it out on the shore. Totally unexpected and freaking awesome. I loved Kitty’s “Oh, save it for hitting on mermaids,” Colossus’ fastball-special, and Namor’s narcissic and hilarious dialogue with Colossus, giving him the “honor” to double-punch the robot with him. I sort of can’t get over it.

Gillen’s writing is fantastic, and the team dynamic is really works in this opening issue. Magneto’s concern for Kitty, not to mention his fears about the bullet, is touching and adds a new element from Astonishing; Agent Brand is snappy as always (and dating Beast whaa?); all I need is a beer line from Wolverine, and I’m set. I would have liked to see Armor, though.

I love how Kitty doesn’t once complain, whine, or kvetch about what’s wrong with her. She accompanies the team, helps when she can, she shows understandable moments of pain and frustration–but she doesn’t make it all about her (something that Emma excels at). Gillen imbues Kitty with a sense of integrity and self-determination, one of my favorite things about her character.

Dodson’s art is wonderful throughout, particularly that opening scene, with Kitty coming out of the water. I think Agent Brand would have been more appropriate on the cover than Emma Frost, but, that’s Frost for you.

Kitty’s condition remains up in the air (I hope she doesn’t turn out like Oracle), yet the prospect of returning to Breakworld is promising. But if Kitty is permanently phased, why oh why doesn’t she phase through the ground? Or through her new techno-suit? A line or two of dialogue could have explained it, but hey, I’ll take one inconsistency if it means keeping her in the story.

This issue is perfect for those who enjoyed Whedon’s run on X-Men, and are looking for an opportunity to jump back in.

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