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April 21, 2013
 

The Uncanny X-Piles 136

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Written by: Jeff
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Welcome to the 136th edition of the Uncanny X-Piles, where we give you our thoughts on the week’s worth of X-Men books!

The X-Piles

Numbers next to each title are the cumulative ranking of the latest issue out of a total of 40. Numbers in parentheses indicate the previous issue’s rating. Blue indicates a raise in the chart from last issue; red indicates a drop; green indicates the book stayed put.

1. All-New X-Men: 36 (37)

2. Cable & X-Force: 35 (23)

3. Uncanny Avengers: 32 (34)

4. Uncanny X-Men: 29 (40)

5. Savage Wolverine: 28 (25)

6. Uncanny X-Force 26 (20)

7. Gambit: 25 (27)

8. Wolverine and the X-Men: 25 (20)

9. X-Factor: 24 (25)

10. X-Men: 21 (23)

11. Wolverine : 17 (32)

12. Astonishing X-Men: 13 (28)

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Uncanny Avengers #6
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Daniel Acuna

I’ll admit that if a story has Apocalypse in it then it’s pretty much going to get my attention. Well, not only did this issue do that it also impressed and entertained me from start to finish!

Remender introduces us to a younger, pre-Mjolnir wielding Thor as he has his first encounter with Apocalypse. Apparently Thor is the bad guy here as Apocalypse has traveled back to kill him to prevent some “great horror”. After losing the fight Thor seeks the aid of his father but when Odin instructs Thor to leave it alone that doesn’t sit too well with the god of thunder. Odin as well as Apocalypse seem to know a lot more than what they’re letting on though in the background there’s another player pulling the strings and things are getting very interesting.

Remender writes one damn good issue here and from the story itself to the dialogue there’s very little to not like. Thor himself seems a lot more interesting in his younger days and Remender captures all of that here. All while laying the seeds for a story that has several layers of excitement and if it stays this good then I’m officially back on board. Especially with this issue having some of THE best dialogue describing a woman’s back end and a conversation between an ancestor of Logan’s and a fellow soldier.

Acuna brings it all home with the visuals and pretty much nails it every single panel. From the Apocalypse pimp slap to Thor to yet another incarnation of the Four Horsemen we are getting quality work here. Regardless of if you’re a fan of Acuna’s style or not you have to admit that the guy moves a story well and hits every beat necessary. This was a pretty intense and visceral issue and the artwork helped get that over.

These events make you want to know how things will unfold in the present but at the same time it wouldn’t be so bad if Remember could come back to this time period. This issue is definitely a highlight in this series and it’s well worth every penny! –IS

Cover: 6/10 Writing: 10/10 Art: 8/10 Relevance: 8/10 TOTAL: 32/40

Uncanny X-Men #4
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Chris Bachalo

When last we left our merry mutants, Cyclops showed up at the Jean Grey School, looking for new recruits. At the end of All-New X-Men #10, we had a cliffhanger ending about who was joining Scott’s team. Bendis decided to take a risk this month by directly tying his two X-Men books together with the same scene, but from different angles. This issue shows what’s cool about that idea and what’s not cool.

What’s cool: It’s great to see a different artist handle the same scene. Bachalo in this issue and Immonen in All-New both do a great job of illustrating the tension between these two teams. Bachalo’s work is more stylized as usual, but he continues to deliver the goods. But his real gift in this issue is his colors. He makes some great coloring choices in portraying a psychic conversation between Emma Frost and the Stepford Cuckoos. Once again, he makes use of the sequential art medium to tell this story in a way that can only be done in this form.

Also, getting a psychic conversation while the argument from All-New is going on is pretty cool. Bendis does a great job of adding another layer to the conflict here, while giving attention to the past. Emma and the Cuckoos have deep history, so it’s appropriate that they spend time hashing out their differences.

What’s not cool: The end of All-New #10 left us with a cliffhanger that one of the original X-Men was going to join Cyclops. We find out in this issue, rather unceremoniously, that Angel is one who leaves Wolverine’s school. It’s not a huge surprise, but I can’t help but wonder why Bendis wrote these issues like this. Perhaps it was a scheduling mishap. But Angel’s inclusion is almost a foregone conclusion in this issue, whereas it was hyped in All-New. That made it feel like a complete flub.

The other thing that was not cool in this issue was that the solicitations made it sound like Illyana was going to be in the spotlight this issue. Something strange happens to her, but the main thrust of the story is on Cyclops and the new students rather than anyone else.

These issue left a bad taste in my mouth with this issue. My expectations have been high since this book has been so stellar, but this issue was my least favorite so far. Hopefully, next issue things will return to their usual best. –JJ

Cover: 8/10 Writing: 6/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 7/10 TOTAL: 29/40

Wolverine #2
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Alan Davis

Wolverine, sentient alien weapons, Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. & Uatu the Watcher. Whoa boy, you might think that this must be one fun filled, action packed issue. Don’t worry, it isn’t. Hunting Season, Part 2 of 4, continues following Logan’s through this “wrong place, wrong time” adventure that Paul Cornell has dropped on the ol’canucklehead’s lap.

I’ve had trouble following Cornell’s dialogue writing in the past. Frankly, in the case of Wolverine’s new series, Paul Cornell is really not showing a good grasp on the Wolverine character. Everything from his vocabulary to his actions just feels off. It’s not that I think there should be a “Bub” quota per issue, but Wolverine just doesn’t sound like Wolverine here. “Damn it all to perdition”, really? As if Logan would ever say that. The situation Cornell’s got Logan in is also absolutely absurd. Something can be said for taking the scruffy mutant out of his usual element, but having him deal with a sentient alien weapon possessed child in the middle of New York City is just way out of his reach in my opinion.

Alan Davis’ artwork is adequate, but nothing special. His backgrounds are nicely detailed which makes his New York look accurate and credible, but I find Davis’ characters look a little soft around the edges. It makes it look like this is an afterschool special story. There’s a panel where Wolverine drinks a substance out of a mason jar called “curds”, and he does so with his pinky up in the air as if he was having afternoon tea. It might sound nitpicky, but I assure you that on both the writing and the art, this issue is riddled with these kinds of subtle, but out of character elements.

The cover is also not very inspired. It gets the point across, but it’s generic, bland and looks distorted. Almost as though the reader is looking at the image through a fisheye camera lens.

Bottom Line is that this new Wolverine book doesn’t feel or look like what a Wolverine book should. –SG

Cover: 5/10 Writing: 5/10 Art: 6/10 Relevance: 1/10 TOTAL: 17/40

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: I’m liking what Paul Cornell and Alan Davis are cooking up on Wolverine #2.
Infinite Speech: Uncanny Avengers #6 is the title you must read out of all of these books!
SpidermanGeekUncanny X-Men #4 was a fun read and a great companion piece to All-New X-Men from last week.

Jeff Jackson
jeff@comicattack.net
@FrJeffJackson

Infinite Speech
infinitespeech@comicattack.net
@InfiniteSpeech

SpidermanGeek
spidermangeek@comicattack.net
@SpidermanGeek

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