Welcome ComicAttackers and X-fans to this week’s edition of The All-New Uncanny X-Piles!
We proudly present to you a handful of this site’s merriest, but least mentally stable reviewers who have kindly dropped by once again to regale you with their thoughts on that one X-Title that has impacted them the most, whether good or bad, from this past week’s releases. So keep reading, True Believers, to discover what Capekiller, InfiniteSpeech, SpidermanGeek, and The Comic Book Clergyman each had to say about your favorite Marvel mutants’ written adventures and don’t forget to leave a comment to tell us what YOU think!
Following the high-impact action found in issue #2, things slow down considerably in comparison for this issue. After the team’s defeat and capture of Doctor Hoffman of A.I.M., Polaris admires Gambit’s kittens, Quicksilver shoots some pool with Havok, and Harrison Snow offers Doctor Hoffman a job at Serval, although the real focus of this story is on the team’s second mission. Someone has hacked into and embezzled funds from the company and X-Factor is sent to deal with the culprit. Unbeknownst to the rest of the team, the thief in question is a member of the Thieves Guild. You know the guild that Gambit is king of? Yeah, that one.
Peter David keeps the focus on the Ragin’ Cajun, holding strong ties to Gambit’s prior adventures in his solo title. Following along in Gambit’s point of view allows for the reader to remain anchored and invested in the team, to affirm his distrust for Pietro and Serval Industries, as well as having the reader bare the same doubts that the character has toward Polaris’ current mental state and stability. It’s a smart move by the writer as Gambit is probably the most grounded person on this team and it’s fun to see his paranoia be justified. And as if the current mixture of characters and hidden agendas wasn’t volatile enough, the reveal at the end of this issue just ups the stakes even more. Consequently, it’s obvious that X-Factor has found themselves a fourth member, but first they will have to trade some heavy blows before it can come to that.
Carmine’s artwork remains consistent. Bold inks, and the liberal use of letterbox style panels lend a cinematic feel to the book, while colorist Lee Loughridge delivers a vibrant palette that really makes the details pop. I like Di Giandomenico’s style more and more with each passing issue which means I may just have to come to terms that I will need to practice my pronunciation of his last name since I expect to be talking a lot more about this book in the future.
Bottom line is that with this third issue locked in, it’s safe to say that All-New X-Factor is off to a solid start with a solid creative team. Peter David once again offers Marvel readers something just different enough from the other X-books to wrangle in the stragglers that might not necessarily have been sold on what Bendis and company are doing. Regardless of whether or not the other X-books are more of your cup of tea, you definitely should be checking out All-New X-Factor for that little touch of the unexpected. –SG
Perhaps my favorite X-Men story is the original Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. The X-Men always seemed way out of their element in space, and when confronted the first time with the Shi’ar Empire, it felt like the entire galaxy was against them. I would also say that another favorite X-Men story was the ‘Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire’ when Professor X takes a team to go find Vulcan. That story also has an epic feel to it. Not all X-Men/Shi’ar stories feel that way. There was that crazy one when Rogue, Gambit, Bishop, and Beast fight the Phalanx who have beaten up the Shi’ar. Not so epic. It’s been a while since we’ve seen something big like that.
Now we have the ‘Trial of Jean Grey’. Granted, the first two parts of this story were basically set up, but this issue finally makes it feel like something big is happening. Jean gets captured by Gladiator and the Imperial Guard, which just smacks of the old Phoenix story. The X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy are in hot pursuit. And in the end, our heroes are rescued by the most unlikely of saviors (which was a complete surprise to me!).
Bendis is having a field day putting his X-Men cast up against his Guardians. So many good quips and character interaction here. The fact that the original X-Men have never been to space before reminds me why it was such a good idea to bring them to the present day. The pairing of Iceman/Rocket Raccoon and Gamora/X-23 are full of fun and action.
Then you have the excellent art of Stuart Immonen, who’s work casts some darkness on the situation and the fact that they are in space, but retains the fantastic character work and panel layout he’s known for.
My only problem is that I’m not quite convinced of the Shi’ar’s reasons for putting Jean on trial since she was not the one who committed the crime. In fact, it has long been proven that Jean herself was on the bottom of Jamaica Bay in a cocoon when it was the Phoenix who was murdering a planet. Bendis needs to give us some further reasoning on this or I think the whole story will fall apart. One way to do this is to have Jean decide to put herself on trial, knowing what her future entails and her potential for doing it.
Besides that one glaring plot hole, this issue continues to please. -JJ
Some times the X-Men can be the world’s greatest heroes and then there are times where they’re the world’s biggest jerks. This issue here shines a bright light on the latter as the team deals with the fallout from the Hellfire Academy battle. However, their method of “dealing” with the issue is to put the blame on Toad, fire him, and call it a day. But no sooner than that is done the alarm is sounding and the race is on to recapture the escaped Hellfire Academy kids, Max and Manuel.
As much fun as I had while reading this issue there was one glaring thing that kept me from really enjoying the story. It was the constant reminder that the X-Men displayed some really hypocritical behavior here. It was so blatant that Aaron even has Storm call Wolverine out on it and it’s swept under the rug by a very dismissive Logan. This has happened before over the years and it’s always been a bit irritating when a writer has Logan, of all people, call someone’s character into judgment considering his shady past and extremely high body count. Though as we move away from this, Aaron once again starts to deliver some great character moments and dialogue that give this issue some real heart. From Toad’s goodbyes to Krakoa to the heartfelt interaction with Husk, Aaron looks to be setting us up for an interesting connection here. Aaron also delves a little deeper into Husk’s mutation which should provide some much needed progression with the character.
The story isn’t all tears and hugs as he does kick in some action as not only the X-Men but Toad begin the hunt for the Hellfire Academy kids. This is where Aaron brings out a side of Toad that we don’t get to see often and it’s a nice transition from the self-doubting coward we usually get. His dark side comes out and things get a bit more complicated because Aaron leaves us with so many possibilities that this could go which isn’t a bad thing. Toad is now the wild card and it’ll be nice if someone blames Logan for whatever happens next.
This is also one very good looking issue from Larraz and Nauck from start to finish. The tone of the story is carried very well and you get a real nice sense of the drama during the quieter scenes. Each character is expressive and pulls off what is needed to make Aaron’s script more effective and this is probably the saddest I’ve ever seen Krokoa and it totally works. It’s a bit cartoony at times however it doesn’t go too far to distract you from the narrative and take you out of the story. It’s just as good when the story shifts to a darker tone and we see the after effects of the beating that Toad let out on one of the Hellfire brats. Everything just comes together with Matt Milla’s colors which puts the added kick to the already great looking visuals.
So, despite the character flaws in this issue Aaron is still driving the series in a great direction which really shines when there’s more focus on the other characters at the school. We get enough of the marquee characters MANY recurring appearances in the plethora of other X titles so it’s good that we get to see some fresh faces in Wolverine and the X-Men! And where else can you go to find out the proper way to remove Bamf poop from your walls?! -IS
Be sure to check out previous editions of the All-New Uncanny X-Piles by clicking here!