Uncanny X-Men #1 Review
By: Rob Gruszecki
Are you recently a new host body for strange powers you never had before? Have you been reborn with abilities unexplained and traits of cosmic origin? Do you lie awake at night with a boiling in your gut that is the reconfiguration of your DNA, instilling you with surreal talents? Has your metamorphosis caused you great anxiety and confusion? Well worry no longer as an ever-expanding ruthless faction of superpowered mutants patrolling the streets, using revolutionary tactics bordering on the fundamentals of terrorism and the principles of violent uprising want YOU for the Uncanny X-Men. No longer will your bubble spouting body baffle those pesky pedestrians near you, long behind you are the days of freezing time just outside your favorite club thus extending your frustrating wait in queue, over is the era of your healing proclivities limited to dungeons in online role-playing games, the Uncanny X-Men are here to train YOU and rear youfrom the cub you are into the beast you are destined to become.
Join the Uncanny X-Men
Marvel Now in their recent revamp, renumbering and revitalization of their line releases the heart of their X-Men books with the ever prolific Brian Michael Bendis (All-New X-Men, Age of Ultron, Ultimate Spider-man, Powers) at the writing post. With pencils from the one of a kind Chris Bachalo (Wolverine and the X-Men, Shade the Changing Man, New X-Men, Death: The High Cost of Living, Ultimate X-Men) and the eventual involvement of an equally unique gem with Frazer Irving (Seven Soldiers of Victory: Klarion the Witch Boy, Batman & Robin) Uncanny X-Men promises to produce an interesting spin on the mutant plight in the 616. Spinning off of the line wide event, Avengers vs. X-Men, and more recently off its Marvel Now sister book, All-New X-Men, Scott Summer and his band of refugees including Magneto, Magik, Emma Frost and others are traveling across the world to recruit and ‘liberate’ newly powered mutants.
Their cause? The dissemination of mutant rights and dismemberment of indoctrinating policies advocating the persecution of the mutant race… Basically what Cyclops has fought for his whole life. Only now he’s really bitter. ‘Overthrow and dismantle the status quo’ kind of bitter. Murdering your mentor while possessed by a cosmic phoenix force, being thrown in prison, the loss of control over your abilities and a recent confrontation with your past self who thinks you’re ‘kind of a dick now’ can do that to you.
There are those outside his assembly (including his younger aforementioned self) who want his revival of guerrilla warfare against the human race to maybe take it down a notch. Developments within this particular installment and newest volume of Uncanny X-men even reveal some dissent within his own force that could possibly derail him for good.
Where this issue and new start excels is its seamless ability to paint Cyclops as an interesting anti-hero. He struggles to rescue mutants who are literally arrested on sight for demonstrating mutant abilities, he refuses to be defeated by his depowering and he has even managed to fuel followers who paint him as a messiah. In previous stories, particularly AvX, Cyclops was too far-gone to have empathy for or really understand his motivations, where now as a passionate and active revolutionary his position can at least be understood and much easier to cheer for. Written with a finesse only Bendis can really produce and the high-octane blockbuster tone that he is known for, this gathering of the oppressed and underdog war story is more The Losers than the Mighty Ducks*. He manages to make this a very new reader friendly expansion of the universe, which is impressive as this particular story is birthed out of the last few years of continuity in the X line and as a result is heavy in back-story. I feel he delivered a very self-sustaining and thoroughly explained addition to the mythos with this first issue that could be easily read by anyone looking for a jumping on point. Also the Marvel title pages with a quick summary of where we are now are always a big help.
Uncanny X-Men issue #1 also features some of my favorite pencil work in the entire Marvel Now new run of books. Chris Bachalo’s take on the mutant rebels is unparalleled in ingenuity and style with character designs that for the first time have me pointing out the absolute ‘badass’ presence of typically my less than favorite mutant, Cyclops. Sentinals have never looked better to me than penciled by the mad genius that is Bachalo and the middle of this book features such a brilliant sequence and layout of the drones that will more than justify a purchase of the new title. Bachalo also colours the book and his design throughout the interiors in how the colours direct the action and tell a story of their own, exploring characters and really fleshing out environments, is truly incredible. I loved everything about the art in this book and not to mention the perfect cover the book heralds.
Yet another great feature of the book is the text backmatter that even more so explores the continuity and character motivations for the audience. With Bendis as their new X-Men scribe to lead the way and Uncanny X-Men being pointed in an exciting new direction I don’t think you can go wrong by picking up issue number one.
Rob Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior
Follow him on twitter @Ghost_Factory
Listen to his music www.ghostfactorymusic.com
Read more of his comic reviews (Dear, Ghost Factory. What Should I Read?) or listen to the Comics Round-up weekly Podcast both found at www.flashfact.org
*Not to slight Coach Bombay or course. Emiliooooooooo