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May 4, 2013

The Uncanny X-Piles 138

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Written by: Jeff
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uncannyWelcome to the 138th 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. Uncanny X-Men: 31 (29)

3. Cable & X-Force: 29 (35)

4. Savage Wolverine: 29 (28)

5. X-Factor: 29 (24)

6. Uncanny Avengers: 27 (32)

7. Uncanny X-Force 26 (20)

8. Gambit: 25 (25)

9. Wolverine and the X-Men: 23 (25)

10. X-Men: 21 (23)

11. Wolverine : 17 (32)

12. Astonishing X-Men: 10 (13)


gambitGambit #11
Writer: James Asmus
Artist: Clay Mann (w/ Paco Medina)

Since we are now on issue number eleven with Gambit, chances are that if you are reading this review, then you’re probably already buying this book anyway, so we won’t bore you with the story so far. All you need to know is that this specific issue gives us a fun team-up between Gambit and his long-time love, Rogue.

James Asmus does a pretty decent job at writing Rogue. Her interactions with our titular character felt natural and fluid while also serving the purpose of moving the story along. Having Tombstone as Gambit’s current antagonist is actually a really good fit and it’s always fun to see characters like that being utilized in stories we wouldn’t usually think to see them in. We also get a scene or two involving Fence, but these left me slightly disappointed as I expected him to be a little more loyal to his friend Remy, but that’s not to say that he still didn’t come off as an endearing and tough as nails character. I’m looking forward to learning more about him.

Clay Mann once again helms half-duties on the pencils. Not sure what’s going on here, but it sure seems like Mann regularly needs a hand to finish in time for deadlines. We haven’t seen him do a full issue of Gambit in quite some time. The panels that Mann did draw are of his usual caliber, but unfortunately when intertwined with the art of a penciler like Paco Medina, the former’s work tends to lose a little bit of its “wow” factor. Still, overall the art was very enjoyable and Clay & Seth Mann’s inks seem to be getting stronger.

The cover to Gambit #11 is one of the better ones of the series in both concept and execution. The detail on that motorcycle is fantastic.

Bottom line is that if you are a fan of anything that touches upon Gambit and Rogue’s relationship, you definitely shouldn’t miss this issue as the chemistry between the characters felt pretty real and you also get to see them team-up to take out some henchmen.-SG

Cover: 7/10 Writing: 7/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 4/10 TOTAL: 25/40

uncanny avengersUncanny Avengers #7
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Daniel Acuna

After a rocky start, this title is finally picking up some major steam. Remender picks up the loose ends from his Uncanny X-Force book, and continues the story of the death seed of Apocalypse, this time being fought over by the children of Apocalypse. However, the new Apocalypse twins have Kang on their side and in this issue, they show their true power by taking out a Celestial, no small feat. Remender knows how to build up the tension of the threat posed at this team of Avengers.

Meanwhile, on top of the big action, Remender packs this issue with quiet, character moments that he’s known for writing. This issue feels like an old issue of X-Men or Avengers, with old romances being revisited (Wonder Man & Scarlet Witch) and new romances beginning (Wasp and Havok). I’m not too happy about Jan flirting with Alex, but at least the way Remender writes it is well done. Rogue also struggles with being on the team and accidentally killing Grim Reaper. Rogue is always more interesting when she’s portrayed as an outcast or when she’s struggling with her powers. Nice to see a return to that. Even the strange pairing of Captain America and Sunfire was nice to see.

Remender hits all the beats that longtime Marvel fans enjoy. This is his real strength and I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do.

I’m not the biggest fan of Daniel Acuna’s art. It looks like the cover of a 1960s board game. Yet, his work adds to the nostalgia factor of this issue. While his art is not my favorite, it seems to fit much more than John Cassaday who started this book. Cassaday provides a cover which looked a little weak. His depiction of Apocalypse in the background was troubling and the figures in the foreground seemed too small.

The purpose of this book was to appeal to Avengers and X-Men fans alike, and I certainly think this creative team is doing just that! –JJ

Cover: 3/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 6/10 Relevance: 10/10 TOTAL: 27/40

uncannyUncanny X-Men #5
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Frasier Irving

I was a bit worried when they announced that Chris Bachalo would be taking a break for a few issues on this book. He and Bendis seem like a dream team and to stop their flow is disappointing. Also, it’s hard to pair another artist with Bachalo. Artists like Marquez and Immonen compliment each other on All-New X-Men as they trade story arcs. But who can pair with Bachalo? When I heard Frasier Irving’s name attached, I was skeptical. Having seen his work on DC’s Xombi and the recent Skeletor origin one-shot, I wasn’t sure how he might fit in here. Irving’s work has a supernatural, painterly, almost epic feel to it. With the last few issues being focused on Scott’s team of X-Men legitimizing themselves before the other X-Men and the Avengers, I wondered where Bendis would take this story to include Irving’s art. I’m pleased to say that the strongest part of this issue is most definitely the art.

Magik gets pulled into Limbo by the dread Dormammu of Dr. Strange infamy. Irving does this fantastic double-page spread of the diminutive Illyana standing before the gigantic demon. It’s like it’s from a Lord of the Rings storyboard! Irving does magic (pun intended) with the colors on this book, placing the fire of Dormammu against the pink-and-purple haze of Limbo. It’s really stunning. Every panel in this sequence is stunning.

Irving’s challenge is in the non-Limbo scenes. The clean lines of the “real world” are in stark contrast to Irving’s Limbo, and while he does a good job on most of the faces of the characters, I was wondering why Magneto looked like Cassandra Nova. Sure, I get that he shaved his head, probably in honor of Xavier, but Irving’s rendition of the character made him look about as old as he actually is.

The story is interesting enough. I’m not a fan of Limbo stories. But to see this fledgling team of new mutants with the ragtag faculty in Limbo might be fun. Bendis continues to handle the dialogue of everyone deftly.

This book is exactly what I want in the post-AvX world. Bendis continues to please and Irving is a welcome addition! –JJ

Cover: 7/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 9/10 Relevance: 7/10 TOTAL: 31/40

wolverine & x-menWolverine & the X-Men #28
Jason Aaron
Ramon Perez

Wolverine’s field trip to the Savage Land with some of his students finally comes to an end with some unexpected results. While other results were pretty much obvious from the start. Though this arc has had it’s share of ups and downs we do get a much stronger ending than anticipated (at least by me) and it’s actually thanks to Aaron’s focus on the students and less on Wolverine.

Broo was able to get the job done even with his now bestial nature while Quire continues to not be as much as a pain as he started off as. And then there’s Eye Boy who steps up to the plate and through an interesting display of his powers actually makes an impression. These are some of the high points in the book that helped to strengthen certain parts of the story. Now, even though Wolverine’s brother, Dog, was the catalyst for these kids actually coming together he’s just not that interesting of a character. The abuse he suffered is tragic and is the springboard for his actions and feelings towards his more famous brother. But we’ve seen this with better characters like Logan himself and even Sabertooth. There is the little twist/cliffhanger regarding Glob Herman that was quite satisfying and it should be interesting to see what happens when this is touched on again.

Perez’s work was solid throughout the issue and does a fine job moving the story along. His style is expressive and just fun to look at. From Broo chomping on Kurt’s old bible to Wolverine doing is best Alien impression out of the belly of a T-Rex.

All in all this was a satisfying last chapter to a story arc that seemed a bit too long. How these students come out of this event will be more interesting to see so let’s hope Aaron has a few more surprises down the road. -IS

Cover: 6/10 Writing: 6/10 Art: 6/10 Relevance: 5/10 TOTAL: 23/40

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: With Frasier Irving on board, Uncanny X-Men #5 gets my top pick!
Infinite Speech: It was Uncanny Avengers #7 for me!
SpidermanGeek: I didn’t get a chance to read the other books on the X-piles list this week, but Gambit #11 was entertaining enough for me to recommend.

Jeff Jackson

Infinite Speech
@Infinite Speech




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