Every once in a while, a comic will do a one-shot that has nothing to do with the regular ongoing story. And every once in a while, that story will be head and shoulders above the regular ongoing story. Finally, Kieron Gillen decides to treat those of us who are barely hanging on to this book with such a tale. What made it so good, though, was that it had actually little to do with the cast of this book, and that right there is a cause for major concern. The story is certainly a parallel for the growing trend of suicides that happen during young adulthood because of a lack of understanding and acceptance in an increasing digital age. A young man’s mutant powers begin to manifest, only to have his “friends” record the transformation and post it online. Seeing no hope for normalcy, the boy kills himself. Hope’s team finds the kid and realizes they were too late to rescue him. There are a lot of silent panels in this issue, which is becoming the trend in “death” issues. It ends with Kenji wanting to take revenge, and Wolverine talking him out of it. The good about this issue is that it is stand-alone. However, the more it connects to the regular cast, the more annoying it gets. The really bad part is Wolverine’s hypocritical conversation with Kenji. Sure, he’s trying to prevent Kenji from killing a kid and becoming like him, however, Wolverine is currently on a mutant death squad! He kills people in almost every issue for the same reason Kenji wants to kill. It would be one thing for Wolverine to have left behind his killing ways and then warn Kenji about what killing can do to you, but the fact that Wolverine preaches to this kid about murder is way out of character. Gillen could have used someone more like Colossus, who has killed but doesn’t use murder as his calling card, to make the point. Besides that, this issue was spectacularly drawn by Jamie McKelvie, who needs to be on a regular X-book, in my opinion. He does a great job with character moments, which the X-books are currently lacking. While I wanted to start off praising this issue, I realize now that I was more annoyed than not. –JJ
This time I’m going to write my Uncanny review in a series of “why” questions: Why is Emma Frost wearing a cowboy outfit in the Sadie/Scott psychic link-up? Why does Cyclops think that disarming Juggernaut in the same way they always do will work when he knows Cain is more powerful than he’s ever been? Why does Juggernaut need to use that stupid guy to speak for him? Why can’t the Worthy just speak English? Why is Magneto the most powerful mutant in one issue, then in another, he can’t magnetically rip Juggernaut’s helmet off? Why don’t the X-Men learn to fight like a team rather than sending one member in after another? Why does Greg Land draw Hope like a Victoria Secret model? Why does almost every X-Men story involve someone getting brainwashed or taken over psychically? Why does every person have an over exaggerated, yet realistic look to them? Why is Greg Land drawing this book? Why does Fear Itself have to creep into my X-books, when Gillen was doing just fine by himself? Why is this story arc as long at it is? Why do the editors at Marvel hate me and want me to stop reading their books? Why can’t they just let writers tell good stories? –JJ
Ok, so it really was the art in the last few issues that made me not like this book. Now that Emanuela Luppachino is back, I’m back on board and things feel right once more. Well, that, and Peter David decided to write the whole team again in an issue. First, we get some interesting developments between Guido and Monet, which is certainly the highlight, seeing as how Guido may turn evil because of his resurrection at the hands of Layla. I’m really excited to see this play out. Back at HQ, the team is trying to rid itself of all the weirdos who are after Rahne’s baby, which is putting a whole new spin on the “Dingo Ate My Baby” joke. I still don’t quite get why the ghost of Feral is looming, as she has nothing to do with anything really. The love triangle between Rictor, Rahne, and Shatterstar continues to fester. In the end, we get a nice guest appearance from Werewolf By Night, who’s real name, Jack Russell, by the way is the worst pun in comics. This issue turned a corner for me: I’m ready to wrap up the Rahne’s baby saga. I miss Madrox as the lead character in this book. He is my favorite, of course. David does a good job once again of balancing action, comedy, and relationship/character moments. The guy could write a book on that skill. Luppachino delivers on this book and seems to only be getting better with each passing month. While not the best issue ever, this month was a return to the great stuff this title is known for. –JJ
First to Last concludes in this issue, and I have to say, it was pretty disappointing. This story could have been a major event for the X-Men, but because there is certainly a mandate that everything has to go back to normal after each arc so that the “real” events have the lasting impressions, it ends with a sound akin to me placing my mouth on my arm and blowing really hard to make that “FLLLARRRRPP” noise. It had so much potential, though. Yost had a great idea here, tying up some of the connections in the early days of the X-Men. The back and forth of the present and the past was handled extremely well, due mostly to the fantastic art of Paco Medina and Dalibor Talajic. The only thing this story does is introduce a new villain who has a major mad-on for Cyclops. Since it’s looking like Cyke may not make it through Schism, I wonder if this is going to bear any fruit at all. To me, this would make the ultimate prelude to Schism, which Prelude to Schism failed to meet. Using the Evolutionary later would be an excellent way to solidify Cyclops as the dictator over mutants. But I don’t hold high hopes for that at all. Overall, this story arc was really wonderful, though, despite the lackluster ending. Once again, I’m starting to question the editorial staff at Marvel for their choices in letting writers come up with big ideas, only to hamstring them in the end. This arc felt like Deadly Genesis, but without the cool retcon or ending. -JJ
Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: In a really dull week, I give my pick to X-Factor #222 for Luppachino’s art and David’s return to what he does best.
Andy: X-Factor #222. Ms. Luppachino has stolen my heart.