Brian Michael Bendis’ new Uncanny X-Men series was announced shortly after All-New X-Men began. It stars Cyclops and his own mutant team, although we didn’t know much about that team right away. This first issue clearly states the direction this series will take, while simultaneously separating itself from ANXM very well.
Cyclops is starting a mutant revolution, along with Magneto, Emma Frost, Magik and several new mutants. This could easily result in an all-out war, and he truly feels more like Magneto than he ever has. Even so, he still feels like Cyclops, and is trying to avoid harming humans … so far. Emma Frost doesn’t have much to say, and even when she does, she doesn’t feel nearly as snobby as she’s supposed to. The new mutants still don’t have much characterization, but everyone else feels perfectly in character.
The main setup is intermixed with an interview at SHIELD, where an unknown man is negotiating with Maria Hill. Some narration boxes from the interview overlap with the action scene, and it only improves the storytelling. You’ll see who the man is by the end of the issue, and while it’s not a huge surprise, the twist is set up very well.
The only thing that dragged this issue down for me was the art – I’m not much of a Chris Bachalo fan. Still, I can tell that the art is good – his stylistic approach suits the action scenes well, and each panel flows nicely into the next. Even though a lot of the colours are similar, it’s still easy to see everything that’s happening.
This is a great start to Bendis’ Uncanny X-Men series. There is plenty of good action, some good character work and excellent story setup. If you like Bachalo’s art style, know that it’s good in this issue. The story also feels important – in some ways more than any other X-Men comics in Marvel Now so far. X-Men fans should at least read this comic once.
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This felt very much like a set-up issue. Bendis’s work on ANXM has me feeling generous, and I expect good character stuff going forward. I wasn’t crazy about Bachalo, though. I don’t think his art is a good fit for this title. Bachalo hasn’t been impressing me much lately. His WatXM was substandard, and while his work here is solid, it doesn’t fit.
I’m glad his X-Men run is turning out well so far. I was worried about it, having read glimpses of his Avengers run. Some of his AVX tie-ins were abysmal. Sure, his portrayal of Emma Frost could be better, but half the X-Men writers don’t understand her very well anyway.