A so-so ‘start’ to a new Uncanny X-Men series…
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis | Artist: Chris Bachalo (1-4), Frazier Irving (#5) | Inks: Jaime Mendoza, Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Victor Olazaba & Frazier Irving | Colours: Chris Bachalo & Frazier Irving
The true flagship X-Men series returns… NOW! In the wake of the Phoenix event, the world has changed and is torn on exactly what Cyclops and his team of outlaw X-Men are – visionary revolutionaries or dangerous terrorists? Whatever the truth, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magneto, and Magik are out in the world gathering new mutants and redefining the name Uncanny X-Men. But the challenges that they must overcome are fierce: once again, robotic Sentinels hunt the team and the mutants they protect… but when you find out who’s doing the hunting, your jaw will drop! And if that’s not enough, there’s a mole on Cyclops’s team – but who is it?
Collects: Uncanny X-Men #1-5
This is not a bad start to one of the Marvel NOW re-launch titles. Nevertheless, I had some issues with it, but they are more related to the overall direction of the Marvel NOW titles than this series per se. So: some good, some middling.
Yes, Uncanny X-Men is quite fun, and this book has a cheeky and gentle wit and humour running throughout – Bachalo’s artwork is a wonderful medium to realise this on the page, too. I’ve really grown to like it from Wolverine & the X-Men, despite initially not being too sure if I did. Speaking of W&tXM, the humour in Uncanny X-Men is very reminiscent of that, so I wonder if it is a conscious effort or just something Bachalo brings to the books he’s working on? Either way, I enjoyed it.
That being said… I understand that Cyclops, Emma Frost and Magick are struggling with their powers – they’re misfiring, malfunctioning, or out of control. They all were infused by the Phoenix Force in Avengers vs. X-Men, after all – and, if I remember correctly, there was a mention of at least Scott’s difficulties coming to terms with his reduced control and powers in AvX: Consequences (or possible in volume one of All-New X-Men?). But… Why is Magneto having difficulty with his powers? He wasn’t taken over by the Phoenix Force. I don’t remember that coming up before, nor any reason being given for it.
The new mutants Cyclops & Co. have added to their numbers – new young recruits, people manifesting new powers since the arrival and dispersal of the Phoenix Force, are fun. It does mean, though, that we’re seeing another series that is probably trying to attract younger readers, something more in common with Wolverine & the X-Men (another similarity, perhaps only brought to mind lazily by Bachalo’s involvement). This despite fertile ground to explore a number of deeper issues. For example, who is culpable for the whole AvX mess (as they point out, it was Iron Man’s mistake that split the Phoenix Force into five hosts in the first place…). There is plenty they could explore with this series, but instead it looks like they’re going to wander off into other areas (the final chapter of the book turns the focus on to Magick and her misfiring powers). Revolution felt sadly unfulfilling and thin.
Love this bit. “Did he actually call a time-out?”
I don’t know, ultimately, what I think about this book. Some of it I really liked (the art and humour), but some of it irked me because I think the whole franchise may have made some real problems for itself with these endless mass Events, crossovers, etc. I’ll probably still check out book two, but I’m in no hurry to do so. So this is recommended, but perhaps for real Marvel fans only, and not for just-casual readers.
Skottie Young’s Variant Cover for #1
[Because I can’t pass up an opportunity to share Young’s work…]