Welcome to the 122nd edition of the Uncanny X-Piles! Can you have a pile with only one book? Guess not. Oh well. Here’s the only book on the stack this week!
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. All-New X-Men: 37 (34)
2. Uncanny X-Men: 31 (16)
3. Wolverine : 30 (24)
4. Uncanny Avengers: 29 (32)
5. Uncanny X-Force: 29 (30)
6. X-Factor: 29 (27)
7. Wolverine & the X-Men: 27 (32)
8. Astonishing X-Men: 27 (18)
9. Cable & X-Force: 26 (27)
10. Gambit: 23 (22)
11. X-Men: 22 (26)
12. Age of Apocalypse: 20 (22)
13. A + X: 18 (29)
14. X-Men: Legacy: 15 (16)
15. First X-Men: 11 (14)
“All-New X-Men” #5
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist & Cover: Stuart Immonen
There is just no doubt, “All-New X-Men” is the X-Men book I’ve been waiting to read.
When you look at the complex continuity of the X-Men mythos, even the most ardent X-fan has to long for the simpler times when it was 5 teenagers with cool powers. Yes, there are wonderful stories that have been told along the way, but when you look at today’s X-Men and the 1960s versions, you have to say “What happened?”
This is exactly the angle Bendis is using in this series. Bendis is actually in the minds of long-time fans, who have hung on through thick and thin and have decided that the current era of the X-Men is so far off the map that it may be impossible to get it back on track. His solution is amazingly simple. Just bring back the very thing we miss the most…the original 5 teenagers. It’s working so well, and there seems to be a limitless supply of stories that he can use here.
This issue sums up the first arc of the series and firmly establishes that the original 5 are here to stay…at least for a while. Bendis gives them further reason to stick around beyond the current Cyclops’ follies, in that Jean sees what has become of her in her future. In a brilliant double-page spread, Stuart Immonen sums up Jean Grey’s life perfectly, revealing all the complexities and important story lines in one huge tableau. This is reason enough to make Jean the driving force behind why they should stay.
Beast finally gets the moment for which we’ve waited and transforms again from his cat-like stage into something else entirely. This happened rather abruptly, and makes me wonder if there’s not more here than we actually saw on-panel. I thought they might drag his illness out for longer, and I’m hoping that it’s not swept under the rug hurriedly.
We still have loads to cover as we move forward, from young Scott and Jean having a strained relationship because of their future, to Warren demanding to know where he is in this horrible future. Plus, we have Kitty taking on the role of Professor X in the training of these still novice X-Men.
This first arc has given me hope for the future of the X-Men, but also creates a fantastic paradigm for more “reboots” in the Marvel Universe. What if a newly-bitten Peter Parker jumped ahead to see that Doctor Octopus was now living his life? What if the World War II era Captain America was revived today instead of the 60’s like the Avengers film suggested? The possibilities seem endless.
I’d say if you haven’t read this first arc, get the trade quickly. Since the young X-Men are newbies to this world, it’s a great jumping-on point in the world of the X-Men, while also honoring the past 50 years of history. –JJ
Cover: 8/10 Writing: 10/10 Art: 9/10 Relevance: 10/10 TOTAL: 37/40
Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: Well, there was only one this week, but it was truly X-Cellent! “All-New X-Men” #5!