Welcome to the 149th 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: 37 (38)
2. Savage Wolverine: 34 (33)
3. Uncanny X-Men: 32 (33)
4. Uncanny Avengers: 30 (28)
5. Cable & X-Force: 29 (30)
6. X-Men: 28 (34)
7. X-Factor: 28 (16)
8. Uncanny X-Force: 24 (22)
9. Astonishing X-Men: 23 (28)
10. Wolverine and the X-Men: 20 (30)
11. Gambit: 16 (8)
12. Wolverine : 14 (16)
All-New X-Men #14
: Brian Michael Bendis
: Stuart Immonen
What is there really left to be said about All-New X-Men? We’re on issue #14 now and Brian Michael Bendis is showing no signs of staleness or fatigue, and neither is Stuart Immonen.
The book opens with a chilling shot of the young Jean Grey in full Dark Phoenix mode, which picks up exactly where we left off in issue #13. The genius behind this is that the readers are immediately thrown into the middle of an action sequence which has them engaged from the get go and doesn’t let up until Bendis ramps us down to the final couple of pages prior to the epilogue piece.Brian Michael Bendis is on point with all of the characters at play here. He knows these folks. He knows their history. He’s obviously done his research, while at the same time; he manages to inject a freshness that is absolutely welcomed in the X-books. In this issue, Bendis showcases the team’s ability to work together and drives it home by throwing in kudos from Captain America himself near the end of the issue. It’s also nice to remember that Cyclops wasn’t always a douchebag and it’s fun to witness, first-hand, the potentially that Professor X originally saw in the kid as well as in the rest of the original X-Men.Stuart Immonen can do no wrong on this book. He is now in my top 5 favorite artists stable. Every line is perfect. The amount of detail is on the spot since it’s neither overwhelming nor underplayed. Of course, a large part of attaining this level of perfection in comic book art might not be possible if it wasn’t for Grawbadger’s inks and Gracia’s colors. This creative team absolutely works as well together as the X-Men have shown capable of doing themselves in this very issue.The cover used for this issue seemed rather misleading and frankly, I am getting a little tired of the whole Man-embraces-woman-in-front-of-intricate-background thing.
The bottom line though is that if you haven’t been reading All-New X-Men, then you are sorely missing out on THE best X-title Marvel is producing so far in 2013. –SG
Cover: 7/10 Writing: 10/10 Art: 10/10 Relevance: 10/10 TOTAL: 37/40
Cable and X-Force #11
: Dennis Hopeless
: Salvador Larroca
Cable has split up the X-Force team in pairs, each duo tasked with preventing one of the many possible futures that Cable has envisioned. Cable & X-Force #11 follows Boom Boom and Domino as they infiltrate a hospital in Manhattan to extract a mutant patient who would otherwise decimate the highly populated area when his powers first manifest.Dennis Hopeless is doing some interesting things with this merry band of fugitive mutants. I have enjoyed this incarnation of X-Force thus far, but admittedly, I have not ready every issue of this current volume.
Hopeless does well with the script and manages to give a buddy-cop dynamic that should appeal to most readers. To most readers except me, that is. Personally, I cannot stand Boom Boom as a character. I wanted to ring her neck throughout the entire issue, but to Dennis Hopeless’ credit, that would mean that he’s doing a fine job writing her because I think that’s how she was meant to come off. She’s brash, imprudent and downright obnoxious.There’s a side story involving Hope that still seems forced to me. It’s like she’s only in this book because Marvel editorial really couldn’t find anywhere else to stick her. The most logical place would undeniably be at the side of her adoptive father, but I still haven’t seen concrete evidence that Hopeless is planning to fully integrate her in this book (i.e.: make her part of the team).
This cat and mouse thing between Cable and Hope is getting a little stale and something needs to happen, quickly. And by something, I don’t mean having Blaquesmith make an appearance that leads into a face palm inducing final page.I have nothing but praise for Salvador Larroca’s artwork in this issue. Especially all of the scenes involving the Ambulance chase. I especially liked the Thelma & Louise inspired cover which was perfectly suited for the story found inside.The bottom line is that if you can make it past not physically punching the pages of this issue in an attempt to shut Boom Boom up, then you will probably get a kick out of this book even if you have to sit through the lackluster Hope segment. –SG
Cover: 8/10 Writing: 7/10 Art: 9/10 Relevance: 5/10 TOTAL: 29/40
Savage Wolverine #7
Sometimes you don’t want a deep, multi layered read. There are times when you just want to kick back and watch the bodies hit the floor and that’s exactly what this issue delivers in abundaunce! Zeb Wells gives us nothing but raw and gritty action as Wolverine and Elektra go after the Hand and stop them from raising an assassin from the dead. The great thing about this issue is that we get to see Logan cut lose from start to finish which is something we don’t get often anymore. Since he’s been teaching at the school and running around fighting other good guys there hasn’t been the feral killing machine we saw so much of years ago. Even though some may think the large amount of violence is cliché for the character Wells does well with crafting great character moments and a bit of comedy for us. Like when Wolverine calls out Shikaru by throwing a rock at the behemoth. His twist at the end definitely catches readers off guard and was a great payoff considering everything Logan and Elektra just went through.
There is no question that Joe Mad’s visuals take the action to their visceral edge in this issue! Elektra looks downright scary during the entire issue fighting Hand ninja. The character designs for Shikaru and Mikaru were purely awesome and the fights had a nice fluidity to them. There was one odd looking page where Wolverine went into berserker mode and he seemed deformed but things were back to normal as the issue went one. I’ll also add that putting Wolverine in the classic brown and orange just helped give it that old school feel and helped make it visual perfection. Everything was brought to another level with Steigerwald’s colors from start to finish.
Pick this one up for the fun because it’s definitely a reminder of how great Wolverine can be when he gets to cut loose when put in a solid story! –IS
Cover: 10/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 9/10 Relevance: 7/10 TOTAL: 34/40
: Peter David
: Carmen Carnero
I used to be one of those X-Fans who would go on X-Men Dangler Threads on forums to discuss possibilities of the infinite number of dangling plot lines in the canon. One of the ones that has been floating out there forever has been the connection between Longshot and Shatterstar. I’m not particularly a huge fan of either character, but what has always intrigued me is the mysterious connection between the two. We’ve known for a long time that both were from Mojoworld and there have been numerous hints that the two were related. In fact, in the early issues of Jim Lee’s X-Men, they downright spell it out when the newly pregnant Dazzler says to Longshot that “Shatterstar” is a funny name. There was even an annual crossover between the X-titles called “Shattershot” which we all thought was going to tie up the connection. Sadly, it only made things more complicated and mysterious.
Jump ahead about 20 years, and both characters land as regular’s in Peter David’s X-Factor. Always the teaser, PAD dropped even more hints and it had eventually become a running gag in the series. As he reaches the end of his run, PAD finally gives us what’s been hinted at for years: the connection between Longshot and Shatterstar.
And I have to say, I was satisfied. Keep in mind, both of these characters are poster children for ’80s and ’90s comic book characters. Their very origins and introductions are silly and overdramatized, appropriate for guys who come from a world where everything is televised. So instead of trying to make a realistic connection between Longshot and Shatterstar, PAD goes full-on sci-fi-comic-book-time-travel-circa-1993 reasoning, and somehow, at least for this long-time reader, it works.
So here’s the gist: Not only is Longshot the father of Shatterstar, but because of time-travel, Shatterstar is the “father” or progenitor of Longshot. Yep, it’s crazy and over-the-top. But what makes this work for me is that it doesn’t contradict any of the previous hints we’ve gotten, but in fact draws from them. Even though it’s ridiculous, it somehow makes sense and wraps it all up with a nice bow. Instead of dragging this out into a huge storyline, PAD sums it up nicely and tightly. And having Rictor as the point-of-view character gives it a nice touch.
My only wish for this issue was that it had been drawn by one of the classic X-Men or X-Force artists of the ’90s. Somehow, even Rob Liefeld would have been appropriate. Better yet, having Art Adams or Greg Capullo return to put an end cap on this saga would have been nice. Carnero’s art is lovely, I admit, and he does a good job of getting the story across. My only complaint was that the ram-guy, who’s name I forget, is drawn with a human nose rather than a ram’s. Minor, but it still bothered me.
I have to say, this book could have been a whole lot worse, but unless you’re a long-time fan of X-Men, you probably didn’t get the fullness of the story, nor the satisfaction that this story was finally told. –JJ
Cover: 7/10 Writing: 7/10 Art: 6/10 Relevance: 8/10 TOTAL: 28/40
Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: You can’t get more perfect for me than Savage Wolverine #7!
SpidermanGeek: All-New X-Men #14 with its perfect art and expertly written battle scene.
Infinite Speech: I was beginning to really miss this Wolverine! Savage Wolverine #7 all the way!