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March 17, 2012
 

The Uncanny X-Piles LXXXI

Check in every week with The Uncanny X-Piles for reviews of X-Men comics! If it has a mutant in it, we’ve got it covered here!

Daken: Dark Wolverine #22
Writer: Rob Williams
Artists: Matteo Buffagni, Andrea Mutti, & Riley Rossmo

Haters are gonna hate, but I have been really into Rob Williams’ run on Daken, and it’s gearing up for a final issue, which will be #23. Daken has gone off the deep end. His addiction to the drug Heat, the only substance known to actually cancel out his healing factor, has done just that- completely eradicated that mutant ability from him. His healing factor has been quite literally purged from his system due to excessive Heat intake, and according to Reed Richards, Daken’s time left to walk the Earth is severly limited. So does he hang out with all his best buds and make amends with his father, Wolverine? Nope! Daken is hell bent on going out with a literal bang, setting off bombs outside key hero locations in New York City (like the Baxter Building), and has forced Heat on not only Reed, but his dad too. Wolverine is too busy dealing with the effects of the drug to fight his son, and this makes the hero’s easy pickings for Daken. With only one issue left before this series ends, the door is wide open for Williams to put his mark on the title character. If Daken either dies, or still lives but without his healing factor, I’d consider this a solid run on a C list character, as it will have concluded with lasting ramifications. We’ll find out next month! -AL

Cover: 8/10 Writing: 7/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 3/10

Ultimate Comics X-Men #9
Writer: Nick Spencer
Art: Paco Medina

Finally! Finally, this series puts out an issue that’s worthy of an above average grade! Nick Spencer moves us away from religious zealots and a black-haired Jean Grey, and puts the spotlight on Storm and Colossus. More importantly, he brings back the bomb dropped on readers back in Ultimate Comics: Fallout– That mutants in the Ultimate Universe are a result of experiments conducted by the American Government, not the result of evolution in nature. The cat gets out of the bag as Val Cooper tells this to the world, and Storm gets hella pissed! It was awesome seeing her cut loose, and Paco Medina pumps out a great full page spread of ‘Ro dropping a squad of Sentinels singlehandedly, all in her new digs and donning a new hairdo. Spencer also gives the spotlight to Stacy X, who is stirring up some anti-human sentiment. Overall, it’s a solid issue, one worth checking in on if you fell away from this series earlier. However, it reads in about 3 minutes, so the $3.99 price tage feels a bit steep. My hope for this series is rejuvenated though, so lets hope for more Storm, Colossus, Iceman, Human Torch, and Shadowcat sooner rather than later. -AL

Cover: 5/10 Writing: 6/10 Art: 8/10 Relevance: N/A

Wolverine & the X-Men #7
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Nick Bradshaw

How many more big ideas can Jason Aaron come up with? This guy just won’t stop with this book. Not only is this book becoming the flagship X-Men book, it’s also the most fun. Aaron does an amazing job of layering every point in this issue with yet another detail. Here’s an example: This intergalactic bounty hunter who is after Broo seems like your run-of-the-mill alien killer. Aaron could have left him as just the typical merc who has been hired by the Brood to kill Broo for being compassionate. Instead, Aaron creates an added layer to this character by making him an intergalactic genetics professor who is after Broo because he’s upsetting the natural order of the universe. Brilliant! That’s just one amazing idea that Aaron has here. He gives Quentin Quire a “psychic shotgun,” akin to the psychic katanas and daggers of past telepaths. He sets up a stunning love triangle between Kitty, Iceman, and Warbird. I totally didn’t see that kiss coming! Finally, he solves the “no money for the school” angle quickly and hilariously by allowing Krakoa to grow diamond trees on the property. Not only does he manage to juggle all of these things, but he intertwines them into a tapestry throughout the book. Even though there are three separate stories going on, he shares page space with all of them. They don’t seem crowded, or out of place. On one page, there’s even a theme of characters groaning (or puking) simultaneously that really ties the book together. I was a big critic of Matt Fraction’s run on Uncanny X-Men because he had so many characters and just couldn’t juggle them all. Somehow, Aaron’s able to do it and do it well. Nick Bradshaw’s art seemed to struggle a little bit as his usual attention to detail seems to have taken a back seat to just getting it in by the deadline. You can see some rushed inking on some pages. Despite that, he’s a good fit for a book like this. If he and Bachalo continue to switch off, I would be happy. This issue concludes this arc, so if you’re waiting for the trade, you should know that this is worth the wait. –JJ

Cover: 7/10 Writing: 9/10 Art: 6/10 Relevance: 9/10

X-23 #21
Writer:
Marjorie Liu
Artist:
Phil Noto

Bravo, Marjorie Liu and company! Bravo on a series superbly executed from #1 until the end. Liu’s run on X-23 has truly re-defined the character. What began as an introspective journey of Laura’s to discover if she possesses a soul, ended on an emotional high with distinct resolution, and newly forged relationships. Just like Wolverine played mentor to Jubilee and Shadowcat for a time, Gambit took on the same role in this series with X, and it was an endearing relationship to witness unfold. And speaking of Jubilee, I look forward to future team-ups with these two ladies. I hope future writers keep these relationships in mind when taking on Laura. Marjorie Liu was just the right fit for this series- a well renowned female writer taking on a character story of a female clone of Wolverine. The main three artists throughout this run, Will Conrad, Phil Noto, and Sana Takeda, have all stepped up to the plate and delivered beautiful pages of X-cellence. Hopefully they get more work in the Marvel Universe very soon. This issue was a great period on Liu’s run, laking any words, and hearkening back to Weapon X when Logan ran through the Canadian woods in the nude. Laura discovers her inner self, and her interpersonal conflict of whether or not she’s an actual feeling human being, or a mindless killing machine gets put to rest. The only thing I thought that was missing from this closing issue was an afterword by Liu. I would have really liked to hear what she had to say about her tenure on this title, and what writing Laura has meant to her these last couple of years… couldn’t Marvel editorial have waited two more issues to end the series? -AL

Cover: 10/10 Writing: 10/10 Art: 10/10 Relevance: 5/10

X-Men: Legacy #263
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: David Baldeon

X-Men fans love seeing the whole team take on a villain like Exodus, especially when it looks like they may not be able to defeat him. This new direction by Christos Gage and David Baldeon has given such fans what they wanted in that regard. But X-Men fans also love strong character moments and depth to the plot and that, too, is what Gage delivers in this issue. One would think that this story is just about Exodus trying to reunite mutantkind again and the X-Men trying to stop him. Up to this point, that’s pretty much all that was going on here. But Gage makes a pivotal twist that lands squarely on his central character, Rogue. If you remember a few issues ago, Rogue was complaining to Rachel about her lack of clarity about her relationship with Magneto. Gage revisits that conversation as a bookend in this issue, but we discover that perhaps Rogue’s hasty plea for help to Cyclops’ team, and the subsequent arrival of Generation Hope instead of the Extinction Team, was Rogue’s subconscious way of trying to reconnect with Magneto. Because of this, she has lost Wolverine’s trust, as her actions inadvertently go against the very core of why Logan split from Scott. So while at first glance this story looked very “surface,” it ended up being something that this title has needed for a while…some well-place drama and character development. Add to this the stellar artwork of David Baldeon, and you have a book that is climbing the totem pole of the X-Men franchise. Baldeon has a real flair for the action scenes. Some of the hits on Exodus looked downright painful! His interpretation of the Utopia kids looked really great, as well, and made me miss some of the kids that have taken a back seat lately like Surge and Dust. If you dropped off Legacy during Carey’s run, I urge you to check this out. You’ll be as surprised as I was!  –JJ

Cover: 8/10 Writing: 9/10 Art: 9/10 Relevance: 10/10

Briefly X-Posed
Avengers #24:
Storm gets some solid licks in on a super-adaptoid powered Norman Osborn. She looks totally badass when drawn by Daniel Acuna!

Most X-Citing Pick of the Week:
Jeff: This is tough because I got nothing but good stuff this week, but Baldeon’s art puts X-Men: Legacy #263 over the top for me!
Andy: Wolverine and the X-Men #7 for me. It was the best issue so far from Aaron’s run, and I love what he’s doing with Iceman!

Andy Liegl
andy@comicattack.net

Jeff Jackson
jeff@comicattack.net

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