There hasn’t been much to be excited about when it comes to the various mutant titles lately but Uncanny X-Men has been one of the better ones in the mix. This isn’t a good time for the team as Cyclops has just dropped his students in the lap of the Jean Grey School staff. They feel betrayed and during a visit from Havok and a conversation with Emma regarding their current state, this is a very Cyclops driven issue. As if you couldn’t tell this by looking at the cover.
After everything that has happened recently this is a much needed slower paced issue from Bendis. Everyone is at a crossroads and confused but Bendis does make this one of the better Havok/Cyclops moments to come along in a while. With this dialogue heavy issue, Bendis provides some really great moments and character development along the way. With Cyclops wanting to turn himself in for the murder of Xavier and basically give up everything was an unexpected moment. Though the most tense moments came during his time with Emma. Some things about their relationship are cleared up and she comes clean about her powers. However, it’s when Bendis has Emma shift to her diamond form after a slight from Cyclops that things take a turn. If you’re unaware of how this power works a side effect is that it cuts off her emotions the longer she stays in that form. This was a nice, subtle touch to show just how deep Scott’s words had cut and that she needed to shift before delivering some hard truths of her own.
Bachalo’s work is pretty much what you’d expect from his unique style of visual storytelling. Not much happens in the way of action and what we do get is Cyclops taking some of Goldballs’ balls to the face. It was a strong scene as Goldballs was probably the one who believed in Cyclops the most when it came to the mission and Bachalo makes sure to show a lot of anger in that panel before the assault. He keeps pace with the tone of the story and we even get a nice visual effect for Emma’s diamond form. I did find it odd that several of the Scott’s on the cover were missing the red visor on the mask which is a pretty important part of the costume.
To complain that Bendis is doing a “talking heads” issue is like complaining your favorite quarterback is throwing too many perfect passes to his receivers. Bendis shines when he gets to focus on just a few characters and finds a way to make this issue pretty solid from beginning to end. With only a few issues left before Secret Wars takes over it’s going to be interesting to see how he wraps things up so hopefully Havok sticks around for a bit and the X-Men get their stuff together.