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On Ice: Uncanny X-Men - The New Age    by Chris Claremont & Alan Davis order for
On Ice
by Chris Claremont
Order:  USA  Can
Marvel Comics, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Death to X-Men can be like the common cold to normal humans. The X-Men are just too resilient (and popular). It came as little surprise in the previous volume that Colossus (the famous Russian metal-bodied mutant) returned to life. Since Marvel Comics' most recent reboot and redirection for all the X-series (X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Academy X, Excalibur, District X, etc.), the New Age series seems to be about revival and the return of characters presumably killed in years past.

In Volume #3, Betsy Psylocke Braddock awakes on a floor at a Spanish military base. Now, that would be a common occurrence for X-Men except that Psylocke died and was even autopsied by doctor and blue-furred mutant, Henry Beast McCoy. Storm, Bishop, Nightcrawler, and Marvel Girl fly out to confirm that it is indeed the Psylocke they know. Before too much can be said, they are dragged away to the Savage Land on a distress call from Wolverine. Upon arrival, he is nowhere to be found, but they encounter his protégé, X-23, running from the Saurians, intelligent reptilians plotting (what else) - world conquest. As a race of dinosaurs that survived the great freeze, they have lived in the Savage Land for millions of years and now seek to take the world back from humans. The X-Men must band together with the region's various humanoid and mutant groups to save the planet. A trip to Mojoworld and the return of the X-Babies follows up the Savage Land story. Here too, readers are greeted with another return of a presumably lost character and a special appearance by the dimension-traveling gang of mutants, the Exiles.

As X-Men stories go, On Ice meets the standard, with the development of X-23 as an interesting subplot. By this third volume, it seems evident that the New Age series of X-Men should be considered their return from the dead line. A fair amount of foreshadowing and priming also imply that if Jean Phoenix Grey is to return, it will be in this series, where Rachel Marvel Girl Summers (the daughter of Phoenix) has become a regular. The cover of On Ice reveals Wolverine facing off against half a dozen T-rexes, even though he barely appears inside - while Wolverine sells, this flagrant exploitation seems cheap since the volume has plenty of quality art to present on the cover. In fact, the pencilers, Alan Davis and Tom Rainey do a superb job. The X-Babies are cute while the transmutation of Marvel Girl (done very slowly from one panel to the next) shows the range of skill and attention these artists are giving to the storyline's authenticity.

If it's been a while since you picked up an Uncanny X-Men comic book (or any X-title for that matter), this would be a decent place to re-emerge yourself in the world of mutants. For those new to the X-Men, it's also a reasonable place to start.

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