January 30, 2013

The Uncanny X-Piles 124

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Written by: Jeff
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Welcome to the 124th edition of the Uncanny X-Piles! Check out what the guys thought about the new Wolverine book, and some new story arcs in some of the other books!

The X-Piles

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: 32 (37)

2. Uncanny X-Men: 31 (16)

3. X-Factor: 30 (29)

4. Wolverine : 30 (24)

5. Uncanny Avengers: 29 (32)

6. Uncanny X-Force: 29 (30)

7. Cable & X-Force: 28 (26)

8. Astonishing X-Men: 27 (18)

9. Wolverine & the X-Men: 25 (27)

10. Gambit: 23 (22)

11. X-Men: 23 (22)

12. Age of Apocalypse: 20 (20)

13. X-Men: Legacy: 19 (15)

14. A + X: 18 (29)

15. Savage Wolverine: 17 (first issue)


All-New X-Men #6
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez

Ever since the original five X-Men were brought from the past things have been a bit hectic over at the Jean Grey School. Bendis slows things down just a bit in this issue as Jean Grey is trying to acclimate herself to her newfound telepathic powers. Young Scott Summers is trying to cope with his particular situation and Angel just wants to go back home to his own time.

Things are slowed down a bit in this issue as Bendis eases the young X-Men into the 21st Century. The strength of how well he’s writing these characters might make you wonder what stories we could have had if he was penning those early X-Men tales. Now, as much as this issue focuses on Scott and Jean it’s the sequence with Angel that seemed to stand out. Bendis has made him the one who is most vocal about wanting to leave and his meeting with his future self is great moment here.

I’m also going to say that David Marquez needs to be a regular artist on this title for as long as possible. His work continues to impress on various levels of visual storytelling. From the intense dream sequence to the skirmish between Wolverine and young Cyclops. He also does what some artists don’t do when drawing teenagers and that’s make them actually look like kids. This might not seem like an issue to some but it really helps with the tone of the story. And while the art looks fantastic it’s Marte Gracia’s colors that bring it all together.

Things are looking better and better with each issue in this series as various parties are becoming interested in what’s been going on. Bendis is definitely making sure this is a title that flies off the shelf and to the top of your reading pile with each issue –IS

Cover: 7/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 9/10 Relevance: 8/10 TOTAL: 32/40

Savage Wolverine #1
Writer/Artist/Cover: Frank Cho

Once again, we have yet another Wolverine book on the shelves. This is the first one to hit in the Marvel NOW! era, and Marvel has chosen Frank Cho to helm the title.

After a stellar run by writers Jason Aaron and Cullen Bunn, Cho has some big shoes to fill. What made those arcs work really well was that they took Wolverine in new directions that actually developed his character, which is almost an impossibility since he’s featured in so many comics these days. So how does Cho stack up?

It seems that Cho is going to swing in the opposite direction. Much like “Avenging Spider-Man” is really a Marvel Team-Up book, it looks like “Savage Wolverine” is going to opt for less character development and more bombastic action. Now if you like that sort of thing, seeing Wolverine team up with folks to fight big threats, then this is the book for you. Cho seems to excel at setting up a fight sequence, like when Wolverine wakes up and is immediately attacked by a raptor. Even later, when Wolverine and Shanna the She-Devil, who is this story’s guest star, fight a cadre of Sauron-looking pterodactyls, the action is big, intense, and well-choreographed.

But if you’re looking for something deeper, this book fails on every level. Wolverine wakes up in the Savage Land with no explanation at all. If this is a mystery for a later date, then Cho refuses to tease the mystery out. We’re just supposed to assume that Logan wakes up in strange places at random. Cho tries to give some depth to Shanna in her comments about missing her family while being trapped on this mysterious island for so long. However, it’s hard to give depth to Shanna when she’s drawn by Frank Cho.

This book is also an excuse to let Frank Cho draw his “Jungle Girl” in the Marvel Universe. Cho is the master of cheesecake shots, and this issue has plenty of Shanna’s “assets” on display. Once again, if you like that sort of thing, then this is the book for you. However, it’s hard to take Shanna’s character seriously when her boobs are barely staying in her bikini top, held there by some magical force.

Cho excels at the rest of the art. He draws a good-looking Wolverine and his level of detail in the setting of the Savage Land is phenomenal. Cho is definitely an artist, and needs to work on his writing. –JJ

Cover: 6/10 Writing: 3/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 1/10 TOTAL: 17/40

“X-Factor” #250
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Leonard Kirk

Remember when Wolfsbane had a kid? Remember when Darwin was on a quest to kill him after his battle with Hela? Remember when we first met Jezebel, the red skinned, horneaded lady in “X-Factor” #233? Remember when Guido left the team? Well, if you do, then things are going to start making a lot more sense as of this issue.

It seems like it was a long ramp up to get to this point, but if #250 is any indication, it was all worth it. What can be appreciated about Peter David’s writing is that he doesn’t tend to forget about dangling plotlines. Those plotlines dangle out of design. If any writer rewards long-time readers with big payoffs, it’s PAD.

This issue is narrated by Tier, the offspring of Wolfsbane and Hrimhari. This was an excellent way to ease new readers into what’s happening as the reader experiences the events through the eyes of a character who is unfamiliar with everything and everyone around him. This method also keeps from burdening long-time readers with boring info dumps. The action is hectic and fast paced and doesn’t let off until the final page. There is so much going on in this issue that it’s bursting at the seams.

And who better to handle the rapid-fire sequence of events than Leonard Kirk. Kirk has been a staple of the “X-Factor” title since issue #225 or so. The artist put his best foot forward here and really overloaded the readers with a visual feast. When I said this book was bursting at the seams, I meant it. You will rarely find a page that contains a border. Most panels simply do not want to remain contained within each page and it just works flawlessly to tell this overcharged “Hell on Earth” tale. I have often commented on a lack of consistency in facial details from Kirk and that is definitely not the case here. It’s his best work yet.

Bottom line is that I recommend this as a jumping-in point for casual “X-Factor” readers and a must read for long-time readers. This is the storm after the calm and once it’s over, it will be fun to see what’s in store next for this ragtag team of mutants. –SG

Cover: 8/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 8/10 Relevance: 6/10 TOTAL: 30/40

X-Men #40
Writer: Seth Peck
Artist: Jefte Palo & Guillermo Mogorron
Cover: David Lopez

It seems to be Marvel’s modus operandi that just before they cancel and relaunch a title, they put a lesser-known team on the book, and it starts to get good. This happened with Cullen Bunn & Paul Pelletier on “Wolverine” and now it seems to be happening with this book.

I have not been a fan of Brian Wood’s run on this title, so when Seth Peck took the reigns with that Domino/Daredevil story, I was pleasantly surprised. With the announcement that Wood is coming back with the relaunched version of this book, even with Olivier Coipel on art, I’m skeptical.

Seth Peck seems to have carte blanche here since this volume is being cancelled, so he can pull out all the stops. First, he does so by crafting a really fantastic squad of X-Men. Led by Storm, this team consists of Chamber, Pixie, Angel, and Iceman, with a real focus on Chamber, who has a new costume. Chamber is one of my favorite X-Men and so I love seeing him in play. Peck does a great job of having these characters interact and puts them in a basic, but challenging, scenario in rescuing a newly emerging mutant.

But what’s even more exciting is that Peck introduces a new Freedom Force. I’ve often wondered why the government didn’t have an ongoing project like that, but Peck picks up the ball and runs with it. We don’t know yet who the members are, but they look interesting enough.

The art team of Palo and Mogorron is interesting and somehow I’m drawn to the stylized depictions of these characters. I assume these artists are not American, and the style of art looks more South American or European. But they are a good fit here.

The cover by David Lopez seems to be a leftover from Wood’s run, as the team on the cover is not the team inside. I dislike when Marvel does lazy things like this.

Overall, this is a great X-Men book and would be worth picking up! –JJ

Cover: 4/10 Writing: 7/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 5/10 TOTAL: 23/40

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: All-New X-Men #6 continues to please and with David Marquez on art, this book is pretty perfect.
Infinite Speech: Another stellar week for All New X-Men #6!
SpidermanGeek“X-Factor” #250 was an awesome issue as Peter David starts tying up old plotlines. Things are coming together and it’s a fun read with fantastic art.

Jeff Jackson

Infinite Speech




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