I'll admit that of Joss Whedon's storylines on "Astonishing X-Men," it was his trip to the Breakworld that I found the least compelling. So with Kieron Gillen promptly bringing back characters from the Breakworld for his first solo story, I've been a bit worried. Up until now, it seemed to almost be working. But with this new chapter, the steam is running out.
The big problem is that "Uncanny X-Men" #537 feels like little more than a transition scene, pushing Colossus and Kitty from point A to point B by any means necessary. But with there being less than a full issue's worth of story to read here, it ends up getting padded out, primarily in an extended chase scene across Utopia.
I don't think I'd have minded it so much if it had felt a bit more inventive: surprise appearances of characters (after all, there are quite a few to choose from on Utopia), perhaps, or inventive ways that the chase moves through the island. But instead, it's all by the book. Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Wolverine are the three most-used characters in the X-Men right now, and getting them as the three points along the chase is underwhelming. There's no spark, no surprise for the reader. I'm not saying there needs to be a twist around every corner, but predictability can grow tiresome.
Terry and Rachel Dodson are a welcome sight, though, and getting new issues of "Uncanny X-Men" drawn by them almost makes up for the slightly pedestrian chapter. From the non-powered Colossus still looking like a genuine threat, to Kitty's wide-eyed look of fear as she realizes that the weapon can hurt her phased form, the Dodsons do a typically strong job of making the characters look both attractive and dynamic.
I'm not down on this storyline overall, but this chapter definitely feels like the weak link. Hopefully this is all leading up to something big; it feels a little odd to see all of these characters and concepts dredged up from the Whedon era after being set aside for so long. For now, though, this story feels like it's going to clock in at about one chapter too long.