Featured Columns

March 20, 2013
 

The Uncanny X-Piles 132

More articles by »
Written by: Jeff
Tags: , , ,

Welcome to the 132nd edition of the Uncanny X-Piles, where we give you our thoughts on the week’s worth of X-Men 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. Uncanny X-Men: 40 (39)

2. All-New X-Men: 36 (35)

3. Wolverine : 32 (30)

4. Astonishing X-Men: 28 (27)

5. Uncanny Avengers: 28 (21)

6. Gambit: 27 (25)

7. X-Factor: 25 (30)

8. Savage Wolverine: 25 (17)

9. Cable & X-Force: 23 (31)

10. Age of Apocalypse: 23 (26)

11. X-Men: 21 (23)

12. Uncanny X-Force: 20 (23)

13. Wolverine & the X-Men: 20 (19)

14. X-Men: Legacy: 10 (15)

15. A + X: 11 (16)

______________________________________________________

Uncanny X-Men #3
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Chris Bachalo

I have not been a fan of Cyclops in the last few years. His whole righteous indignation has seemed completely out of character for this former disciple of Xavier. He has simply turned into the new Magneto, only without the really sympathetic background. Perhaps what I haven’t liked about Scott is that there never seemed to be a singular reason for his change. He wasn’t central enough in House of M to justify why the mutant endangerment was suddenly the banner he was going to carry. Sure, I get that he was filling a void left by the strangely-absent Xavier and that he needed to do something for the future of mutantkind. Perhaps if Xavier had died after House of M, which would have been a perfect time for him to do so, it would have made more logical sense for Cyclops to get pissed off and start the Utopia stand-off which then led to AvX. To say that Marvel has royally screwed up Cyclops’ development is an understatement.

But now I realize that Cyclops’ arc could have been awesome if simply put in the right hands. Brian Michael Bendis knows how to make a former hero awesome again, where Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and Kieron Gillen all failed. This issue is the proof that Cyclops is truly awesome if written well.

Bendis pits Cyclops against the Avengers once again, but instead of doing the obligatory fight sequence which would ultimately not lead the character anywhere, he spends his time creating a logical point-of-view for the character. Scott feels let down by the other heroes, and that’s why he has to take his stand. Finally, Scott Summers seems like the badass he was always meant to be. Luckily, he has the perfect students with him, like a girl who can freeze people in time, to help him. I love how easily Bendis side-steps a conflict with the Avengers, which we don’t really want to see again.

Bendis keeps us on our toes as well. The first issue revealed that Magneto was a mole on Scott’s team for SHIELD. However, in this issue, rather than dragging that out, Bendis has Magneto reveal himself to Scott. But is Magneto a double-agent? The way Bendis writes this is masterful.

Of course, this book works so well due to the wonderfully stylized work of Chris Bachalo. Bachalo hasn’t drawn many Avengers books, so to see his take on Hawkeye and Hulk was really nice to see. Bachalo’s colors are also a treat, as there’s this muted tone throughout that makes you wonder exactly whose side you’re cheering.

I think it’s safe to say that with “All-New X-Men” and “Uncanny X-Men,” Bendis is creating another epic Marvel run. I have a feeling in 6 or 7 years we may be debating if Bendis’ Avengers run or X-Men run is the best. –JJ

Cover: 10/10 Writing: 10/10 Art: 10/10 Relevance: 10/10 TOTAL: 40/40

Wolverine #1
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Alan Davis

Here’s another Wolverine book. But hold up…this one is actually really, really good.

You can say that the things that have bogged Wolverine down as a character has been his convoluted back story. Jason Aaron did a good job of including some of that history in his run, but to revisit that stuff at this point would be boring. The great thing about this issue is that Cornell and Davis plop Logan into an adventure, and unlike Frank Cho’s “Savage Wolverine,” this one made more sense.

We start off with Logan in pretty bad shape. His flesh is all but cooked off, as a guy with a huge laser gun has burned him to a crisp. This guy is holding a group of people hostage, including his own son, and Wolverine is the only one that can save the day. Cornell writes a perfect Wolverine. He’s gruff, but also has a sensitive side, sympathetic to the people who are being terrorized. But there’s a major twist in this issue that makes it really fun. The kid who Logan saves has got a much deeper plan, and Logan gets caught in the middle of it.

Alan Davis hasn’t missed a beat. His work is almost identical to his work in the ’80s or ’90s. He has such a fluidity to his characters and the emotion he can put on their faces really makes the reader connect. He’s great at the quiet moments but also in the big action sequences. When Wolverine gets creamed by a police car, I literally winced. This book looks great and is finally a Wolverine book that’s worth talking about.

This is also a great jumping-on point for new readers. You don’t need to know anything about Wolverine to understand, and Cornell does a good job of subtly giving you the high points of what he’s about. I’m looking forward to seeing more! –JJ

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

“Wolverine and the X-Men” #26
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Ramón Pérez

Dog Logan returns and he’s gunning for Wolverine. Half an issue’s worth of Wolverine: Origin cliffnotes ensues. It should also be noted that while it is not essential, having read “Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine” (also by Jason Aaron) will help you better situate yourself with the story being presented here.

When reading through the first three-quarters of this issue, you‘ll wonder why the hell Jason Aaron featured this confrontation in this book rather than in one of Wolverine’s solo books. Fear not, all will become clear, sort of, by the time you reach the final four pages. The flashback sequences are essential here as there’s probably only a small percentage of readers that are even aware of the existence of Dog Logan and the role he plays in Wolverine’s backstory. Unfortunately, for those who do know about Dog, we are forced to sit through the issue-long recap that is being served as a preface to what’s next for Wolverine’s students at the Jean Grey School. Honestly, I don’t feel like Aaron really did much here except summarize the “Origin” mini-series. The effort was probably minimal on his part.

Pérez does an admirable job with the pencils. There’s nothing to gripe about with the inks and colors either. The monochromatic-esque water color flashback sequences were well executed and helped subdue the hyper-violent scenes as to not detract from, or overpower, the present-day battle between Dog and Wolverine which is the central focus of the story.

The cover gets the point across, but it’s not terribly original. Kudos to Ramón Pérez for the accuracy of the wolverine pelt that is found draped across Dog’s shoulders though. It’s a nice touch to the character design.

Bottom line is that if you’ve read “Origin” and “Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine”, you can very well skip this issue and not miss a thing as I was still left confused as to why Dog is setting out to do what he plans on doing. Otherwise, all you need to know is that Dog is in the current 616 timeline and traded fists with Logan. –SG

Cover: 6/10 Writing: 5/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 3/10 TOTAL: 20/40

“X-Men Legacy” #7
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Tan Eng Huat

This issue is my first venture into this volume of X-Men Legacy. I’m sad (or happy?) to report that it will also be my last. Could X-Men Legacy be the second X-Title to get booted from the X-Piles reading list after the steaming pile that is/was X-Treme X-Men? Quite possibly. I know that my fellow reviewers aren’t very fond of this title either and with good reason.

Simon Spurrier’s direction with Legion isn’t far derived from what his predecessors had established. David Haller still remains the shunned, out casted and ultimately unhinged son of Professor Charles Xavier. Any attempt to make him “cool” during “Age of X” has been effectively nullified by what Spurrier is doing. I won’t pretend to even begin and comprehend why Legion wears a freaky alien as a backpack to battle his own psyche or why the heck there’s a robotic chrome ball following him around town. Legion and Blindfold’s budding romance is the most interesting aspect of this title and even that is stretching it. It’s about the only opportunity the reader might have to relate to a character like Legion.

In this issue, Legion visits a fanatical group of mutant haters; the same group that converted Luca, Blindfold’s brother, into a murderous fanatical himself. He follows through on a half-ass plan to take down the religious sect before they end up eradicating all mutants

Tan Eng Huat’s art is extremely inconsistent and even downright sloppy in some panels. Don’t ask me why he’s obsessed with having readers look up Legion’s nostrils. And talk about horrible character design. Somebody at Marvel actually approved this look for Legion? For 2013? He’s wearing the same boots and pants he’s been wearing since the 80’s! The ridiculousness of the garb worn by the Church of the Happy Host members doesn’t make much sense either. It generalizes fanatical groups as being looney. Their views might be extreme, but the writing suggests that they take their beliefs seriously while the art suggests to the contrary. They wear Football helmets with Christmas lights on them and these guys are supposedly equipped to eliminate the mutant race? Give me a break.

Mike Del Mundo’s cover is nicely executed, but bland and boring.

Bottom line is that this issue didn’t manage to get me interested in knowing more about Legion as a character as he’s being presented to the reader pretty much exactly as I remembered him from the 90’s. I didn’t care for him then; I couldn’t care less now.-SG

Cover: 3/10 Writing: 3/10 Art: 3/10 Relevance: 1/10 TOTAL: 10/40

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: Definitely X-Men Legacy…NOT! Uncanny X-Men #3 continues to be one of my top books!
SpidermanGeek“Uncanny X-Men” #3 killed it story and art-wise. One of Bachalo’s finer works.

Jeff Jackson
jeff@comicattack.net
@FrJeffJackson

SpidermanGeek
spidermangeek@comicattack.net
@SpidermanGeek

 

Share/Save