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April 24, 2013

The Uncanny X-Piles 137

Welcome to the 137th 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. All-New X-Men: 36 (37)

2. Uncanny Avengers: 32 (34)

3. Uncanny X-Men: 29 (40)

4. Cable & X-Force: 29 (35)

5. Savage Wolverine: 29 (28)

6. X-Factor: 29 (24)

7. Uncanny X-Force 26 (20)

8. Gambit: 25 (27)

9. Wolverine and the X-Men: 25 (20)

10. X-Men: 21 (23)

11. Wolverine : 17 (32)

12. Astonishing X-Men: 10 (13)


Astonishing X-Men #61
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artists: Various

There’s not much more to say about this train wreck of a story. The original thinking was to boost the final issues of Age of Apocalypse and X-Treme X-Men, but what it really has done has drug the borderline Astonishing into the gutter.

I barely got through the last part of this story, but it appears that Jean Grey of the AoA has been infected with the death seed, thus becoming the next Apocalypse in order to defeat the beings who are ripping through the multiverse. The endgame of this issue is that the various teams discover that in order to trap these beings, they must sacrifice one of the realities, which they determine must be the Age of Apocalypse reality, in order to save the 616 universe.

This is truly a shame because it puts the nail in the coffin for the AoA reality. Who would want to pick up this thread later? The Age of Apocalypse certainly has changed since the one we were introduced to in the ’90s, and this only further distances it.

The art in this book is handled by so many different artists, that I can’t keep track. It’s inconsistent, and really disappointing. If I were Liu, Pak, and Lapham, I’d be so embarrassed that Marvel forced them into this crossover. These are three incredibly talented writers who are so bridled here and paired with such inconsistent artists that it’s basically a complete wash.

Liu will do well to distance herself from this going forward and quickly returning to the work she was doing previous to this arc. –JJ

Cover: 4/10 Writing: 4/10 Art: 1/10 Relevance: 1/10 TOTAL: 10/40

Cable & X-Force #7
Dennis Hopeless
Salvador Larroca

Now, one thing is for certain and that is if you’re going to have a guest appearance from a well known character at least make it worthwhile. Well, Cyclops shows up in this issue and does what he does best: Absolutely nothing. Well aside from a few comments to his son, Cable, there really wasn’t much to his appearance. Hopeless does deliver when it comes to the main plot of the story as we find out the reason behind the prison break in. It seems as if an alien prisoner is being kept there and the individuals coming to get him will lay waste to six million people. Though the “rescue” goes wrong and we’re left with a very good cliffhanger.

Hopeless has done excellent work with this series so far and this issue (despite the Cyclops appearance) continues to be just as solid. There is a lot of jumping around here to cover the entire team and while some are better than others it fits together nicely. The standout has to be the Colossus/Domino sequence as it just has a certain weight to it and their back and forth is one of the better in this issue. He’s also slowly making the relationship between Forge and Dr. Nemesis one of the more entertaining parts of the story.

Let’s just go ahead and agree that Larroca draws one hell of a good looking issue. Much of this is more of his great work but when you see something that’s a bit wrong it really stands out. The panel in particular is the one where Cable and Cyclops are standing side by side after the ship crash. The proportions seem a bit off as if they were forced to fit into the panel. Other than that the fight scenes are fluid and the story flows well.

Though not the best issue in the series it’s still worth checking out. So, if you had any doubts about Cable and X-Force you should at least give it a shot and see if it’s for you. –IS

Cover: 7/10 Writing: 7/10  Art: 8/10  Relevance: 7/10  TOTAL: 29/40

Savage Wolverine #4
Writer: Frank Cho
Artist: Frank Cho

The first thing that popped into my head after I was done reading this issue was: “Why the hell haven’t I been reading this title up until just now?” If you’re a Wolverine fan, you should definitely be checking out “Savage Wolverine”.

It’s always fun to read a book that is both written and drawn by the same person as you know that what you are reading is exactly what the creator envisioned. There’s nothing lost in translation between script and panels. It’s all straight out of Frank Cho’s mind.

Frank’s writing is pretty decent. I don’t recall ever having read a comic book that he scripted, but I found this issue to be quite enjoyable and offers a good mix of characters. The main focus here is on Amadeus Cho and Shanna the She-Devil as Amadeus brings new information to Shanna after she escapes the dire state she found herself in last issue. With this new information, Shanna realizes she must stop Wolverine from carrying out the plan that the pair initially set forth to help them escape the Savage Land. Readers are really only burdened with about two extensive pages of exposition before Frank Cho lets his art do the rest of the talking.

At this point, we pretty much know what Frank Cho is good at drawing. Women. His interpretation of Shanna does not disappoint. She has the power and grace of a jungle cat and Cho conveyed that perfectly in every panel she’s featured in. When the reader is done gawking at the loin cloth clad vixen, there’s still plenty more visuals to enjoy. Wolverine’s rampage against the tribesmen is visceral and intense, but before the last drop of arterial spray hits the ground, Wolverine needs to step up his game as a trio of Mighty Joe Young sized gorillas are unleashed against him.

The bottom line is that everything about this book is tremendously enjoyable. The intense action, the pacing of the story as well as the beautiful visuals all come together seamlessly to lead the reader to a final page that will leave them clamoring for the next issue of “Savage Wolverine”.-SG

Cover: 7/10 Writing: 7/10 Art: 9/10 Relevance: 6/10 TOTAL: 29/40

X-Factor #254
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Leonard Kirk

Hell on Earth War: Part 5. Alright, in previous X-Piles, we’ve already covered how much this story arc has been dragging on, so we won’t get into that again. The good thing is that we’re at least getting the feeling that things are ramping up to a climax with Mephisto showing all kinds of badassery in this issue. The Marvel Universe’s primary Hell lord is typically shown as more of a silver-tongued trickster. A red skinned version of Loki if you will, but in this issue, Peter David portrays him as a demon you don’t want to mess with when the chips are down.

PAD opens the issue with a pivotal scene between Wolfsbane and Tier, where the latter character makes a decision that adds a significant hurdle to X-Factor’s quest to end the Hell on Earth War. The tension between the members of the team builds up as chaos perpetuates all around them. Peter David paced this issue extremely well as the sense of urgency never lets up and plot points are moved forward at breakneck speeds here compared to the first 4 parts of the story. The final pages treat the reader to a confrontation that has been anticipated since two dozen or so issues ago.

Leonard Kirk has stepped up his game here and really kept up the pace of PAD’s script. His panels display creative use of “camera angles” that really keep the reader in the story while giving the sense that so much is happening around them that it’s hard to even focus. The visual storytelling is top notch and inks and colors are as solid as they come. I still feel like Kirk has it in him to give us a little more detail in certain scenes, but every panel manages to get the job done regardless.

David Yardin’s cover is beautifully tragic, but doesn’t really convey what you’ll find happening inside the issue.

The bottom line is that “X-Factor” #254 is the best issue to come out since Hell on Earth War began and gives the reader a real feeling that the odds are completely stacked against the team of mutants. The scale of this story still feels a little big for “X-Factor”, so hopefully we can get back to more basic, but character driven missions for the team once this thrill ride is over and done with.-SG

Cover: 7/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 8/10 Relevance: 6/10 TOTAL: 29/40

Briefly X-Posed
Wolverine & the X-Men #27AU: Since this book has nothing to do with the regular W&TXM book and we’re not covering Age of Ultron, this book doesn’t get a long review. The good is that Paco Medina drew this book. I wish he was doing the Age of Ultron series. Other than that, this issue adds nothing of importance to the main AU story and since it’s not in regular continuity, it’s completely irrelevant. I don’t understand the need to number these in the regular numbering, but here’s my advice: Avoid all the AU-numbered books. They don’t add anything to the story nor to the regular series. –JJ

Cover: 3/10 Writing: 2/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 0/10 TOTAL: 12/40

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week
Jeff: Savage Wolverine #4 surprised me with consistent art, a fun story, and an eclectic cast of characters.
Infinite Speech: It’s been a while but Savage Wolverine #4 was my standout read out of these.
SpidermanGeek: It’s hard for me to pass up a Frank Cho drawn book. Savage Wolverine #4

Jeff Jackson

Infinite Speech




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