When Marvel first announced Cullen Bunn’s Uncanny X-Men, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, Magneto leading a team of X-Men, each with a history of violence and some of them former villains, I was immediately intrigued. On the other hand, there’s Greg Land’s involvement. I don’t hate Land’s art as much as some, but I’m definitely not a fan and the more I look at it, the more his faults are apparent even if I’m not looking for them. Can Bunn’s writing make up for Land’s faults?
Uncanny X-Men 1 is a very straight forward issue. Most of this comic is a single fight scene as Magneto and his team attack a truck that’s carrying a group of mutants in stasis. The story is fitting for his character and at least some of his followers, and for the most part the team’s interactions are fun. That said, this entire issue feels like an extended introduction. The team’s long-term goals aren’t explored all that much, and the reasons they’re working together aren’t even touched on, save for Psylocke’s reason for sticking around. I get that first issues are best left with some unanswered questions but this issue takes that too far.
Land’s art isn’t the worst I’ve seen from him, but it’s not good. Magneto looks appropriately scary when he attacks the trucks, and there is a fair amount of debris when Sabretooth punches through a car window. That said, the tracing is quite evident. Monet shows almost nothing but what Land’s detractors refer to as porn face for the entire issue, and Psylocke can’t stop doing the splits during the fight scene. The colouring by Nolan Woodard is really good though – no problems there.
There’s nothing all that special about this issue. Unlike Extraordinary X-Men, the entire team is already together, but like Extraordinary, it’s taking its sweet time to explain what’s going on. From a storytelling aspect Bunn’s Uncanny X-Men has a lot of potential, but it’s not there yet. Personally I’d recommend waiting and seeing where this series goes from here, and if you don’t like Land’s art, this issue certainly won’t change your opinion. I’m not sure whether I’ll pick up issue 2 or not.