Welcome to the 144th edition of the Uncanny X-Piles, where we give you our thoughts on the week’s worth of X-Men books!
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 (36)
2. Uncanny X-Men: 35 (31)
3. X-Men: 34 (21)
4. Wolverine and the X-Men: 30 (23)
5. Astonishing X-Men: 30 (10)
6. Uncanny Avengers: 28 (32)
7. Savage Wolverine: 23 (29)
8. X-Factor: 20 (18)
9. Cable & X-Force: 19 (30)
10. Wolverine : 19 (17)
11. Uncanny X-Force: 14 (19)
12. Gambit: 8 (25)
All-New X-Men #12
Brian Michael Bendis
This issue slows things down only to speed things up for us later on as Bendis puts some heart into the series. In a bit of contrast to the cover The Uncanny Avengers show up and the meeting between Havok and the young Cyclops is a heartfelt one. It’s too bad the rest of the members don’t follow suit as Jean uses her powers to take a look into the Scarlet Witch’s memories and what she sees causes her to lash out and attack.
You can probably count on your hands how many genuinely tender moments have taken place between Cyclops and Havok in the past few decades. While this is a brief meeting between the two it’s the unique circumstance that sets this apart from the rest. Bendis draws on this and has Cyclops ask all the right questions and though he’s the older brother he comes across as the starry eyed little kid excited to see Alex. It’s this display of raw emotion that makes this issue as engaging as if it was filled with great action sequences from cover to cover. Bendis has shown the cast bounce all over the place as they question their roles and debate the ethics of what’s going on. This has been a strong focus of the series and it’s only getting better with each issue. Also it seems as if Bendis is having Jean slowly unravel as she’s discovering certain harsh truths about the future.
If you haven’t realized it by now this has been one fantastic looking series. Immonen’s work pulls you in and dares you to try to leave. Along with Beredo’s colors and Grawbadger’s inks you couldn’t ask for a better looking issue. There’s way too many good looking panels to pick just one but I’ll say the appearance of Fin Fang Foom is one of my favorites. Though the real kicker would be the final moments of the meeting with Scott and Alex and how Immonen just pulls every bit of emotion from Bendis’s script to make it even better.
Twelve issue in and this is one of the strongest X-Men titles to come out in the past few years. If you doubted the premise and avoided this series then you’ve obviously made the wrong choice. Pick up All-New X-Men, not now but RIGHT NOW!-IS
Cover: 8/10 Writing: 10/10 Art: 9/10 Relevance: 9/10 TOTAL: 36/40
Cable & X-Force #9
: Dennis Hopeless
: Salvador Larrocca
Oh yeah, whatever happened to Hope? When this series started, Hope seemed like a mainstay. But she’s been absent for a few months, and now Dennis Hopeless has returned to her and gets us up to date.
I’ve been a Marvel fan for a while to know when the editors mandate a guest appearance. This week, it seemed as if it was “Uncanny Avengers” week as that team showed up in two different X-books. However, while it made some sense to see them connect with the original X-Men in “All-New,” this just seemed shoehorned. Sending Havok’s team to figure out what’s going on with Cable seems like a good idea, but using Hope to get at Cable is just an overdone idea. Neither Cable nor his team show up in this issue at all, and instead, we’re forced to see a group of superheroes try to bend Hope to their will. Blegh. However, I did like how Hope was one step ahead of the Avengers and the use of her powers was original.
I’m a long-time Larrocca fan, but I realize there is good Larrocca and bad Larrocca. The good stuff was back in the “X-Treme X-Men” days, and the bad stuff has come in his more recent work on “Iron Man.” But I have been so happy to see the first couple of arcs on this title move back to the good stuff, up until this issue. Larrocca’s art suffers when he tries to make characters look too realistic. He’s better when his style is looser. Take Hope, for instance. He draws her like she’s Mary Jane Watson, rather than the teenager she is. But the real kicker in this issue was Captain America. What were those boxes on the side of his head? It looked like someone taped tissue boxes on his temples. I don’t recall other artists making his new “movie look” look so…geometric. Good thing Cap isn’t a regular in this book.
While I think we needed to see Hope’s role expanded in this book, we needed less Avengers and more Cable & X-Force. Hopefully, Hopeless and Larrocca will return to form next issue. –JJ
Cover: 4/10 Writing: 6/10 Art: 4/10 Relevance: 5/10 TOTAL: 19/40
: Peter David
: Neil Edwards and Carmen Carnero
The End of X-Factor, Part 1 of 6. This is it. THE final story arc for X-Factor Investigations (when was the last time Jamie and the gang even investigated something anyway?) I am both saddened and relieved that this title is coming to an end. It’s been a great run for Peter David. Multiple Man still remains one of my favorite C-List X-men characters because of PAD. With that being said though, when reading this issue you kind of get the feeling that Peter David is just plain tired when it comes to X-Factor.Layla Miller hasn’t given up hope that Jamie might still be alive somewhere in Marrakesh in the fallout of the Hell on Earth War. Without spoiling too much of anything, she eventually reunites with him in the most nonsensical story I’ve probably ever seen in this series. A young boy manages to capture Multiple Man who is still in demon form and convinces his uncle to help him use the demon to open a portal to wherever so he can see his dead mother. What the what? I guess the point was to show that even though Jamie is a demon, there’s still a sliver of humanity left in him. All in all, this final arc is off to a slow start.For the most part, the art is handled very well by Edwards and Carnero. They seem to have similar styles because I honestly couldn’t tell who did what. There’s a surprising amount of detail found throughout most of the backgrounds as well as character faces, especially whenever Layla Miller gets some close-up shots. Matt Mila’s colors just enhance the shit out of that detail work as well.That David Yardin cover is absolutely amazing and creepy too.Bottom Line is that this current incarnation of X-Factor has pretty much run its course. Hopefully, things will end on a higher note than what we’re seeing in this issue and I seriously hope that some of these characters find new life elsewhere in the Marvel Universe and that Peter David can successfully recharge and refocus his creativity on a worthwhile project for the House of Ideas. –SG
Cover: 8/10 Writing: 4/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 1/10 TOTAL: 20/40
Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: All-New X-Men #12 had some awesome moments!
Infinite Speech: It’s All-New X-Men #12 without a doubt!
SpidermanGeek: All-New X-Men #12 was low on action, but high on drama and tension.