Welcome back Merry Mutant Militia for another edition of the All-New Uncanny X-Piles!
Every week, your favorite X-Fans unite to take a glimpse into the more interesting X-Men books on the shelves. Be they good or be they terrible, Infinite Speech, SpidermanGeek, Capekiller, and the Comic Book Clergy will share their opinions. Let us know what you think by commenting below!
Amazing X-Men #4
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Ed McGuinness
The best part about splitting up the X-Men is pulling them all back together again. This story has been nothing short of amazing, with the X-Men venturing to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory unknowingly searching for their lost teammate Nightcrawler. The team is divided and is in dire straits and the only one who can truly rescue them is the one who has been lost.
This story, whether Jason Aaron has intended it to be so symbolic or not, is really representative of the current situation in the larger X-Men world. The team is not unified, with Cyclops’ faction and Wolverine’s faction at odds. Teams are going in all directions with X-Factor working for a company, X-Force being a black-ops team, and the All-New crew up in space. Like the team in this issue, these factions have weakened the X-Men as a whole, and are in need of salvation.
Nightcrawler should be that salvation. In this story he has proven to be the glue that holds them all together. He is fiercely loyal to all the members of the X-Men, and connects with them even when he hardly knows them, like he does with Firestar. In this issue, Kurt brings the group together after their harrowing adventures and draws them back into the amazing team that they are.
This issue features triumphant moments like when Firestar unleashes on Hell, and touching moments like when Kurt finds Logan almost frozen to death. That last one brought a tear to my eye.
If Aaron can use Nightcrawler to do this same thing when he comes back to life, then I see hopeful things in the X-Men’s future.
The art in this issue is breathtaking. McGuinness’s pencils and layout continue to be superior to most anything on the shelves. But Dexter Vine’s inks really highlight McGuinness’s work and tightens it up perfectly. I wish this team would be on this book forever.
If you want some hope with your X-Men, you need to be reading this story. It really is amazing! –JJ
Uncanny X-Men #17
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Chris Bachalo
Cyclops’ faction of the X-Men continues to train their young recruits all the while mutant hunting Sentinels and S.H.I.E.L.D. are nipping at their heels. If you’ve been reading Uncanny X-Men so far, Cyclops’ teaching methods are slightly more extreme than those employed by the faculty of the Jean Grey School. In this issue, the young mutants are dropped off and more or less abandoned in the middle of a hyper-evolved, self-contained ecological system that’s not unlike the environment found in the Savage Land. While the kids try to get their bearings, Highjack decides to whip out his smartphone, against the better judgment of the rest of the group, to pinpoint their approximate geographical location. From that point on, we just get treated to a good old fashioned X-Men adventure with a cameo by Nick Fury Jr. and a couple of his Avenger pals.
Bendis excels at character progression and development. There were a handful of pretty intense scenes here involving the Cuckoos, Sebastien and yes, even Goldballs. And if that wasn’t enough, Eva pops back up after a quick disappearance and she’s somehow changed, but we get interrupted by S.H.I.E.L.D. before we can learn more. This writer knows exactly how to spin a situation to reveal enough aspects of some characters so that the reader can gain an appreciation for them, while at the same time shrouding other characters in a new layer of mystery that compels us to keep coming back issue after issue. Of course, there’s another factor to this equation that amplifies that compulsion…
…the art. What can really be said about Bachalo’s work that hasn’t already been said in many a review? If you’re even remotely a fan of his, you won’t be disappointed with Uncanny X-Men #17. The guy is absolutely brilliant and he gets better and better with each issue he draws. In all honesty, I cannot point out a single artistic flaw in this issue. I’ll also admit that I’m forming a little bit of a crush on Eva because of the way he draws her. The same goes for the rest of these new mutants, really. My Generation X nostalgia is in full effect. Bravo on the colors as well. Setting the foreground characters in a monochromatic palette in some of the panels really makes the background characters pop, effectively giving everybody on the page an event amount of the spotlight and keeping the reader immersed in the story.
The bottom line is that this volume of Uncanny X-Men as a whole has suffered from some inconsistency as far as enjoyable issues go, but number seventeen rises to the top as one of the better ones. It’s fun, exciting and contains a couple of hard hitting twists.-SG
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