Welcome to the 112th edition of the Uncanny X-Piles! This week, we say goodbye to “Uncanny X-Men,” Marvel’s longest running X-Men title (despite the renumbering), as well as glimpse at the future of the Marvel Universe!
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
2. Wolverine & the X-Men: 31 (33)
3. Uncanny X-Men: 31 (16)
4. Marvel NOW! Point One: 30 (one-shot)
5. Uncanny X-Force: 29 (31)
6. Age of Apocalypse: 28 (28)
7. X-Factor: 27 (27)
8. Wolverine: 27 (8)
9. X-Men: Legacy: 26 (17)
10. Gambit: 24 (22)
11. New Mutants: 19 (16)
12. Astonishing X-Men: 16 (24)
13. AvX: Consequences: 14 (26)
14. First X-Men: 14 (13)
15. X-Treme X-Men: 10 (16)
16. X-Men: 9 (12)
“AvX: Consequences” #2
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Steve Kurth
Somebody’s got a death wish…and his name is Cyclops. This issue picks up directly from last week’s, with Logan giving Scott a bit of his time. Most of this issue is spent with the new Xavier and Magneto arguing back and forth. Many panels are wasted as this issue struggles to fill up 20 pages. We certainly don’t need pages of Wolverine throwing beer cans on the floor of the cell. But Gillen and Kurth seem to think that’s good storytelling. In fact, 2 whole pages are spent silently as Wolverine drinks beer. This issue is already 2 pages short of a full one, and 2 other pages are wasted here.
The overall story reveals that now that Cyclops has murdered millions of people, he wants to die, but not in a suicidal way. Rather, he wants to be killed as a martyr. I just don’t get what happened to Scott from the beginning of Kieron Gillen’s run to now. I understand he was concerned with the extinction of his people, but unless somehow they can come back and say that he was being mind controlled by someone, this just makes no sense at all.
Kurth’s art does this book no favors. Wolverine’s arm muscles alone look like a sheet of bubble wrap. He also struggles to get the placement of Scott’s prison visor right in many panels. I wasn’t too thrilled with his art on “X-Men: Legacy” when he traded with Clay Mann, and I’m not too happy to see him on this book. I’m hoping we’ll see Tom Raney back with next week’s issue.
Ron Garney’s cover doesn’t really help this issue either, as he effectively renders the last page of the book.
Overall, this is a disappointing issue after last issue started rather strong. –JJ
Cover: 4/10 Writing: 3/10 Art: 2/10 Relevance: 5/10 TOTAL: 14/40
“Marvel NOW! Point One” #1
This introduction into Marvel NOW! is a collection of six stories that focus on some of the pivotol characters and upcoming titles we’ll be seeing. The one story thread that ties them all together is NYSE. Marcus Johnson, aka Nick Fury Jr., and Agent Coulson are taken to a S.H.I.E.L.D. interrogation room where they are introduced to a visitor from the future. This stranger begins to tell them certain things which blend into the various storie throughout the issue. However, the warnings he is giving are also hidden in these tales and by the time you get to the end you’ll have many more questions indeed.
Usually with these kinds of issues you’ll get one or two good stories sprinkled amongst the crap. Well, this is actually one very strong collection of stories leading up to Marvel’s new venture. The core tale is from Nick Spencer with art by Luke Ross and it does a great job of holding these stories together. Sure there are certain stories that stand out among the group but for the most part ecvery one of them is a solid piece of storytelling both written and visually. From Bendis and McNiven’s gripping Star Lord tale to the humorous antics of Ant-Man brought to us from Matt Fraction and Michael Allred.
This is one of the few examples of a Point One issue done right and hopefully Marvel can produce more like this one. It introduces the new plotlines we’ll be seeing quite well and makes you actually want to find out what happens when these titles debut. If I wasn’t excited about Marvel NOW! before, I’ll say that this issue has definitely piqued my interest. –IS
Cover: 7/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 8/10 TOTAL: 30/40
“Uncanny X-Men” #20
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Carlos Pacheco
In the aftermath of the final battle of AvX, we visit Cyclops, Danger and Colossus.
This book was a pretty interesting read. Each of the aforementioned characters has a compelling one on one with another character. The encounters and outcomes make sense at this point for each character’s situation and set up a few possibilities for some good stories in the near future.
Gillen did a good job of scripting this. I’ve said it before, but I love when he writes Unit. The villain makes an appearance in this issue and he’s as chill inducing as ever, kind of the same way the sound of HAL 9000’s voice can send shivers down anyone’s spine.
Pacheco’s pencils are mind blowingly good. Special attention should be awarded to the backgrounds as well. Deliciously detailed and only made that much better by Roger Bonet’s inks and GURU eFX’s colors. I’ve carefully examined every page and every panel and could not find a single thing to nitpick, except for the cover. I understand the concept behind the cover, but it falls a little flat in my opinion.
Bottom line is that this was a quality product from everyone involved. If you’ve followed “Avengers vs X-Men”, you’ll appreciate this one as a final tie-in but also as a launching pad for what’s to come. The book is low on action, but managed to offer a high impact story anyway.-SG
Cover: 7/10 Writing: 7/10 Art: 9/10 Relevance: 8/10 TOTAL: 31/40
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Breaking Points – Day 5 (final day)
As has been the norm in this little story arc, every issue seems to have focused on a particular member or two of the X-Factor gang. Naturally, with “Uncanny Avengers” hitting the shelves last week, we focus on Alex Summers and his departure from the team. It should be noted that the events of this issue seem to take place before “Uncanny Avengers” #1.
A lot happens in this issue where character growth is concerned. In light of recent events, both Havok and Polaris ponder and make some decisions that best benefit themselves as individuals rather than as a couple. Peter David really manages to bring us inside the heads of Multiple Man, Havok and Polaris and gives us much to chew on after the back cover flips shut. For now, we have the team’s concrete roster.
You should notice an improvement in Leonard Kirk’s work. He’s starting to get a real knack for facial expressions. The quality in detail still varies from panel to panel though. The ones where he obviously spent more time polishing off are apparent, but the story still gets efficiently told, visually speaking. Matt Milla’s colors are absolutely top notch. The shadows on objects and clothing really add depth to every panel and the palette he utilized is vibrant without being obtrusive. Good work.
I’m looking forward to what comes next for X-Factor.-SG
Cover: 8/10 Writing: 7/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 5/10 TOTAL: 27/40
Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: I really enjoyed the Marvel NOW Point One #1 stories, especially the Forge/Cable one.
Infinite Speech: Like Jeff, I have to go with Marvel NOW Point One #1.
SpidermanGeek: Uncanny X-Men #20 was surprisingly good. I’m starting to really like Unit.