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July 22, 2013

The Uncanny X-Piles 147

all new x-menWelcome to the 147th 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: 38 (36)
2. Uncanny X-Men: 33 (35)
3. Savage Wolverine: 33 (23)
4. Uncanny Avengers: 30 (28)
5. Cable & X-Force: 30 (19)
6. X-Men: 28 (34)
7. Astonishing X-Men: 28 (30)
8. Uncanny X-Force: 24 (22)
9. Wolverine and the X-Men: 20 (30)
10. X-Factor: 16 (20)
11. Wolverine : 16 (17)
12. Gambit: 16 (8)

all new x-menAll-New X-Men #13
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
When Mystique has her eyes set on something, she’ll just steal a bunch of money and buy it. That’s what we find is her plan in this issue. After a number of heists, Mystique reveals that she’s been saving up for something really big…like, island-sized big. Madripoor looks like it’s going to have a new crime boss.
That’s just one of the brilliant things Bendis treats the reader with in this issue. With the cast of this book firmly fixed on Wolverine, Kitty, and the young versions of Scott, Jean, Hank, and Bobby, I’m quite satisfied if things stayed this way for a while. The team hunts Mystique and her cronies down and chaos ensues. By the end of the issue, it looks like Jean is Phoenix-ing out, but I have a feeling it’s all one of Lady Mastermind’s illusions.
The only problem with this issue isn’t really a problem with this issue. I wonder how Mystique’s actions here coincide with her involvement with the Hellfire Academy in Jason Aaron’s book. I think Bendis has a much better handle on the villains that Aaron does over there, but it does make one wonder about the connection.
Immonen has been a juggernaut on this series, turning in some of the best-looking pages to ever grace an X-book. His facial expressions are perfect, his progressive panel layout is dynamic and fun, and he just tells Bendis’ story so well.
This book is just chock-full of action, humor, beautiful panels, and wonderful X-Men storytelling. This is by far the best book that Marvel is producing.  –JJ
Cover: 9/10 Writing: 9/10 Art: 10/10 Relevance: 10/10 TOTAL: 38/40
gambitGambit #14
Writer: James Asmus
Artist: Khoi Pham
Pete Wisdom bangs some tattooed witch who ends up stealing the Faerie Grimoire from his vault. He gets in touch with Gambit to steal it back. Not a particularly inspired plot, but it could have been worse for a series that is set to end in three more issues.James Asmus gives us a good dynamic between Gambit and Pete Wisdom. Gambit’s obnoxious jesting is a great counter to Wisdom’s overbearing demeanor. The story itself was fun to read, but easily forgettable. It contains little to no character progression or relevance. Itís kind of a nice throwback to the old days of comic book stories though.
The art is where Gambit #4 really suffers. Khoi Pham handled the pencils and inks here and they are both absolutely terrible. One can only assume that Pham was pressed for time, because we’ve seen much better from him in the past. This was simply phoned in. A minimal amount of lines were applied and the inks are basically just a dark trace of the thin pencils. Rachelle Rosenberg carried this entire issue with her colors. Kudos to her, because this could not have been an easy job.Stephane Rouxís cover is the only worthwhile art found in this issue. Bottom line is that for a 2.99 cover price, there are worse comics on the shelf at the moment. Three more issues to go isn’t much of a commitment either, so I still think thereís enjoyment to be found in this series. If only an artist could step up to the plate and put a little effort into it.-SG
Cover: 7/10 Writing: 5/10 Art: 3/10 Relevance: 1/10 TOTAL: 16/40
uncanny x-forceUncanny X-Force #7
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist(s): Adrian Alphona & Dalibor Talajic
Humphries takes us to Paris and we get to see what transpired between Fantomex and Psylocke. While the two are on a crime spree we also see what differentiates Fantomex, Cluster, and Weapon XIII from each other. There’s also several time jumps taking you back and forth while Cluster and Psylocke are looking for the now captured Fantomex.
Focusing this issue on Psylocke and her love triangle actually makes for a pretty decent read. Though it’s still far from a great issue it is a stronger one. There’s some conflicting story elements here as Psylocke is speaking about her “honor” then turns around and begins a crime spree with Fantomex. She also falls for his pretty weak reason behind it when she could have just read his mind at some point. This is where Humpries begins to waver with the story’s strength though it does turn around at the superhero themed sex club. The action picks up and the focus seems much clearer than earlier on. However as the tale goes on either you’ll care about Psylocke’s relationship or not.
The art from Alphona and Talajic seems to evoke more fun that what this story is actually trying to get across. It only seems to sync up during the quiet scenes between Fantomex and Psylocke and the sequence at the sex club. They did do a fine job of moving the story and making sure everything was visually clear to the reader. It just didn’t seem to fit the tone of what Humpries was setting up at times.
As I stated earlier, this is a solid issue though it’s still not invoking a feeling of excitement to continually pick up this title. –IS
Cover: 6/10 Writing: 7/10 Art:6/10 Relevance: 5/10 TOTAL: 24/30
uncannyUncanny X-Men #7
Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Frazer Irving
For the past few issues the team has been fighting Dormammu in Limbo. Bendis has Magik recount the final moments of the fight during a talk with none other than Doctor Strange. Apparently having gone back in time a bit and is seeking his help because of what she had to do to help her team win the fight.
Bendis made this little trip to Limbo one of the more exciting ones as we see the ineffectiveness of both generations of the team. The older guys like Scott and Magneto haven’t learned to fight with their powers broken and the newer members just don’t know how to fight. Bendis is making sure that this plot point remains a strong one and worth sticking with.
As good as the story read it was elevated by Irving’s visuals throughout the issue. His style definitely fits when it comes to a realm such as Limbo. One page in particular that stood out was the sequence where Limbo was crumbling and his panel breaks were an even bigger part of the art than what was in them.
This is a very fractured team in more ways than one which makes for a richer story than expected. What Bendis is doing with these characters is exactly what you’d want in a comic as well. And the ramifications of Magik’s actions should be pretty heavy and it’s going to be fun to see how Bendis lays everything out in the future. -IS
Cover: 7/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 9/10 Relevance: 9/10 TOTAL: 33/40
wolverineWolverine #5
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Mirco Pierfederici
I’m just plain confused. What happened to this book? Alan Davis leaves and all of a sudden, everything falls apart.
The first arc of this book really struggled, so when it was reported that Cornell was going to be tackling a situation that is truly dangerous for the unkillable Logan, I was looking forward to it. Cornell sets up the story well. Wolverine is still working with SHIELD and gets taken under the sea in a Helicarrier/submarine. This is a truly dangerous environment for Wolverine, as it’s been proven to be the one place he can die. We all know he won’t, but the idea is fun to consider.
Yet despite this idea, the thing that truly sinks this issue is the atrocious art of Mirco Pierfederici. I’ve never heard of this guy, but this is some of the worst art I’ve seen in a comic book. His faces are distorted and lack any depth or rendering. There are confusing and muddled fight scenes. The whole thing looks like an amateur was chosen in a contest to draw this.
This book is slipping and slipping fast. It needs Alan Davis if it’s going to stay on my list. –JJ
Cover: 6/10 Writing: 6/10 Art: 0/10 Relevance: 4/10 TOTAL: 16/40
wolverine & x-menWolverine & the X-Men #32 
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Nick Bradshaw
When this book came out, it was an oasis in a desert of crummy X-books. But now when it’s sitting next to Bendis’ books, the outrageous nature of the book is starting to lose its sheen.
Things seem to be heating up with the Hellfire Academy. The problem with this idea is that I can’t understand why Kade Kilgore has assembled these characters to run their school. I thought Kilgore hated mutants. Why has he surrounded himself with them? And the choice of characters is almost parody. None of these villains seem to be credible threats to the X-Men. They are all used for gags rather than setting up anything worth the X-Men’s attention.
Bradshaw has never been my favorite on this book. His style is becoming less like Art Adams and more cartoony. His depiction of Lockheed makes no sense. Since when is Lockheed a huge dragon? Did I miss something? Also, Aaron gives Lockheed a voice for comic effect which doesn’t work.
I groaned more than anything in this book. Nothing seems credible and feels like a slapstick parody of the X-Men rather than a viable book where anything important happens. I’m ready for a new creative team. Despite the Doctor Who cameo, this doesn’t win me over. –JJ
Cover: 4/10 Writing: 5/10 Art: 4/10 Relevance: 7/10 TOTAL: 20/40
x-menX-Men #2
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Olivier Coipel
Action packed with babes kicking all of kinds of ass! Arkea has taken over the comatose body of Karima Shapandar and is wreaking havoc against the X-Men by using their own security protocols against them.I’m not exactly sure what the hell is going on in this issue, but you can’t deny that the tension doesn’t let go for one second.
The premise of Sublime and Arkea is interesting and the villainous pair is plenty capable of giving the X-Men a run for their money, but the baby angle is uninteresting to me. I found myself wondering where Brian Wood is going with this. It seems to me like it’s a device to make Jubilee seem relevant. And while weíre on the subject of Jubilee’s relevancy, I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere on whether or not she’s still a Vampire. Maybe I just did not read issue #1 thoroughly enough and might have missed that recap. I must have also missed where Rogue got her flight/superstrength as it wasnít shown in this issue.
What I really dug though were the character interactions in this issue. Wood gave everyone something valid to do and the group of ladies worked very well together and that was just plain fun to read. Excellent team dynamicCoipel’s art is on point, but some of the inks were a little lacking.
One can imagine that it’s harder to find consistency with six different people handling inks and colors. Olivier Coipel’s cover is perfectly suited to what readers will find contained within the issue as he displays the teamís core roster dealing with a mountain of junk. Well played. –SG
Cover: 8/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 5/10 TOTAL: 28/40
Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: All-New X-Men #13 continues to X-cel.
Infinite Speech: Once again I’m going with All-New X-Men #13!
SpidermanGeek: All-New X-Men #13. Was there ever any doubt?

Jeff Jackson

Infinite Speech




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