Welcome to the 111th edition of the Uncanny X-Piles! We had to pry Infinite Speech away from NYCC to get him to do one measly review, but he always comes through. Marvel NOW! kicks off with its first book, and a couple of books make a bump in the charts!
Numbers next to each title are the cumulative ranking of the latest issue out of a total of 40. Numbers in parentheses indicate the previous issue’s rating. Blue indicates a raise in the chart from last issue; red indicates a drop; green indicates the book stayed put.
1. Uncanny Avengers: 32 (first week)
2. Wolverine & the X-Men: 31 (33)
3. Uncanny X-Force: 29 (31)
4. New Avengers: 28 (34)
5. Age of Apocalypse: 28 (28)
6. X-Factor: 27 (30)
7. Wolverine: 27 (8)
8. X-Men: Legacy: 26 (17)
9. AvX: Consequences: 26 (first week)
10. Gambit: 24 (22)
11. New Mutants: 19 (16)
12. Uncanny X-Men: 16 (31)
13. Astonishing X-Men: 16 (24)
14. First X-Men: 14 (13)
15. X-Treme X-Men: 10 (16)
16. X-Men: 9 (12)
“AvX: Consequences” #1
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Tom Raney
As if they couldn’t milk enough cash out of AvX, we get this little bridge to Marvel NOW! Only, I have to admit, this was much better than even AvX!
Every event has some loose ends to tie up and Kieron Gillen does this seamlessly, while also carrying the story forward in some meaningful ways. First, Wolverine and his students attempt to visit the ravaged Wakanda, but are rebuffed by Storm who says that Wakanda is not only at war with Atlantis, but they’re not very keen towards mutants at all. This might be the most intriguing thing to come out of AvX. Wakanda is positioned as a very precarious country in the Marvel Universe, and with Black Panther at the helm, it could become a very dangerous place.
Scott Summers is hidden away in a private prison with some strange characters. I didn’t really enjoy this part of the issue very much, as it was exceedingly wordy without really saying much about Scott’s predicament. His imprisonment is a mystery and I wonder how far Gillen will take it. It reminds me of Xavier being imprisoned after Onslaught in the Hulkbuster base.
It appears as if Hope will be living a “normal” life, although I really hope they don’t move her into character limbo after all she’s been through. Iron Man and Captain Marvel go hunting for Magneto, which I don’t quite understand since Magneto helped the Avengers take out Cyclops. Why is he now an outlaw?
The best thing Gillen can do is focus on the unresolved issues between Scott and Wolverine. Gillen does a good job of poising the story in this direction and keeps us guessing. Luckily, this series is weekly so we don’t have to wait long to see what’s next.
Tom Raney is a great fit for a book like this. Unfortunately, he gets stuck of these secondary titles when I think he could have done a good job pencilling the main AvX book. He has tight details in his great cartooning style, making an excellently rendered book. His Wolverine in particular looks fantastic in this issue.
Overall, this was not a bad book, and I’m looking forward to more! –JJ
Cover: 4/10 Writing: 7/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 8/10 TOTAL: 26/40
“Uncanny Avengers” #1
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: John Cassaday
Avengers vs X-Men ends and Marvel NOW! Begins.
If this issue is any indication of what to expect from here on out after AvX, then Marvel might actually have started off on the right foot. Rick Remender packs this issue full of goodness. The pacing is perfect (except for that Komen.org ad, it was a little disruptive being inserted right in the middle of a moment of action), each character gets equal page time and dialogue and serves to move the story along. The most impressive part was Wolverine’s eulogy at Charles Xavier’s funeral. Every word felt like Wolverine. Remender really gets who that character is when it comes to his relationship with Professor X. Beautiful stuff. The final page also serves things quite nicely and should really get the readers’ veins pumping for more. It’s a genius use of a classic villain.
John Cassaday’s art was excellent, but I can’t help but feel that I’ve seen better from him. The man is a master at visual storytelling, you can’t deny that, but the panels just felt a little soft. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but considering the tone needed for Remender’s script, it could all be done on purpose that way, I suppose. The only thing I found lacking was some sort of explanation for all of the costume changes we’re seeing, but maybe that was conveyed in another book which I haven’t read. It’s a small gripe and readers shouldn’t be deterred by it though.
The main thing to take home after reading this is that from NOW! on, you should expect a Marvel Universe that is more intertwined within itself. I’m not sure there will be such a thing as an X-Universe and an Avengers’ corner anymore, and that’s a good thing. –SG
Cover: 8/10 Writing: 9/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 8/10 TOTAL: 32/40
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Paul Pelletier
The awesome team of Cullen Bunn and Paul Pelletier are BACK and I couldn’t be more excited! After the last debacle of an arc, Marvel decided to bring back this great team, and it reads as if that last arc didn’t even happen. My suggestion is that if you read the Dr. Rot story, pick this up and it read quite seamlessly.
The question dangling from the Dr. Rot story was exactly what memories did Logan lose? The more I think about it, the more this idea of Logan’s memory loss really works well and could be a great way to reset Wolverine from gaining all his memories. Let’s face it, Logan was much more interesting when he was a mystery, so this selective way of making pieces of his past a mystery is well-done. I’m not quite sure why Melita would stick around when Logan can’t remember her, but she’s still a fun character to have around.
Bunn throws Logan into another wild adventure, and one that I’m not sure if I’m supposed to already know something about. I didn’t recognize the characters he gets involved in, but it didn’t really bother me. You don’t really have to know to enjoy the show. The best part is that Elsa Bloodstone makes her return and some really awesome things happen with her, especially on the last page.
The shining star of this book is Paul Pelletier. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the story as much if he hadn’t been drawing it. His pencils are just gorgeous. The man knows how to draw superhero comic books. I’m tempted to pick up Aquaman once he’s over at DC again.
It’s a shame that Bunn/Pelletier couldn’t be the continuing team on this book in Marvel NOW! I think they have the potential of a classic run on Wolverine. –JJ
Cover: 7/10 Writing: 6/10 Art: 8/10 Relevance: 6/10 TOTAL: 27/40
“Wolverine & the X-Men” #18
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Jorge Molina
This issue was a breath of fresh air from all of the Avengers vs X-Men madness that has been the focus for some time. With the possibility of the world coming to an end Kitty Pryde is focused on the school and keeping the spirits of the students up. Though it takes place during the final moments of “Avengers vs X-Men” #12 we are treated to a great and painful story about what’s going on at the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning.
Aaron’s quick glimpses of the final moments before Xaviers death are filled with tense and stressful times for Kitty Pryde. Quentin Quire is still causing issues, something is seriously wrong with Husk, and we find out who is behind Idie’s new outlook on life. This was not only a nice reveal but Aaron took it down a realy dark path with a cliffhanger that punched me in the chest. This was made even more intense by the art of Jorge Molina who captured that moment perfectly. What was also great was the nod to the Avengers film with the moment between Glob Herman and Quentin Quire.
There is something about this book that reminds me of the stories I grew up reading about the team and much of it is due to the steady character building taking place. With this main event now over Aaron can get focused on telling some really good X-Men stories! -IS
Cover: 6/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 9/10 Relevance: 8/10 TOTAL: 31/40
“First X-Men” #3: Despite the nonsensical plot, Neal Adams’ art is really much better than previous issues. However, the story is very weak, and Sabretooth’s character in this story is completely out of character. I don’t quite understand the need for this book, because obviously nothing of importance is really going to come of this. I say skip it. –JJ
Cover: 3/10 Writing: 3/10 Art: 5/10 Relevance: 3/10 TOTAL: 14/40
“X-Men” #37: What more can I say that hasn’t already been said? This book is terrible. The art is extremely weak, and Brian Wood continues to write the blandest X-Men story we’ve seen in a while. –JJ
Cover: 3/10 Writing: 2/10 Art: 1/10 Relevance: 3/10 TOTAL: 9/40
Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: Uncanny Avengers #1…because who wouldn’t want to try to steal Xavier’s brain?
Infinite Speech: As much as I liked that new book that came out Wolverine & the X-Men #18‘s cliffhanger clinched it for me!
SpidermanGeek: Uncanny Avengers #1 is the only book I read, but it was damn good and clapped after that final page. X-citing!