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July 9, 2013

The Uncanny X-Piles 145

savage wolverineWelcome to the 145th 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 (36)

2. Uncanny X-Men: 35 (31)

3. X-Men: 34 (21)

4. Savage Wolverine: 33 (23)

5. Wolverine and the X-Men: 30 (30)

6. Uncanny Avengers: 28 (32)

7. Astonishing X-Men: 28 (30)

8. Uncanny X-Force: 22 (14)

9. X-Factor: 20 (18)

10. Cable & X-Force: 19 (30)

11. Wolverine : 17 (19)

12. Gambit: 8 (25)


astonishing x-men Astonishing X-Men #63
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Liu and Walta have a good thing going here. This is the next chapter in what I’m calling the “Dark Iceman Saga.” With Iceman’s powers going crazy and the team trying to figure out what’s going on, Liu has finally found her groove with this book. This team feels like her team of X-Men, instead of a ragtag cast that has no defined boundaries. Because this squad has now endured a few adventures together, Liu can ramp up the drama and the action nicely.

Walta is a great match-up for Liu, and I love the tone in every panel. The art isn’t going to be for everyone, as this is clearly not your standard X-Men art, but it has a subdued tone that makes the characters feel realistic, even though Walta’s style is extremely cartooning.

As far as the story goes, I like where this is going. The threats to Bobby’s girlfriends, Kitty’s role in rescuing Opal, the creepy Iceman clones, it all works for me. My only nitpick is that I felt that this chapter needed to reveal the cause behind Iceman’s turn instead of dragging it out like a mystery.

Overall, this was a fun book and I’m glad that this book is one step closer to the adjective in the title. –JJ

Cover: 7/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 6/10 TOTAL: 28/40

savage wolverine

Savage Wolverine #6
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Joe Madureira

Oh sweet Lord Baby Jesus, Wells and Mad are back!

For those who don’t know, Zeb Wells is one of my favorite modern writers at Marvel, and Joe Madureira is by far my favorite comic book artist of all time. The fact that these guys teamed on Avenging Spider-Man when it launched was a treat, but to have them take a turn in this book just makes me giddy.

First, I loved the editor’s note at the beginning of the issue. Don’t get caught up in the continuity of this story. This is Peter Parker Spider-Man here, not Doc Ock. So get over it. While I’m loving the Superior Spider-Man, it was good to see a return to Peter. I have certainly missed him.

Wells just gets what a fun comic is supposed to be. Wolverine and Spider-Man are thrust into a team-up with Elektra and Kingpin to take on some creepy dudes who are wanting to control the Hand. A simple story, but with some interesting possibilities. Having these characters team-up seems really fun and is something I haven’t yet seen. Wells throws in some hilarious lines at the expense of Spider-Man. He has a great voice for these characters.

What can I say about the art? It’s perfect. This is the art I compare all other art to. It’s detailed, yet fluid. It’s dynamic, yet tells a great story. After all these years, Joe Mad hasn’t missed a beat. I just want to stare at his panels.

I know this won’t last long, but I just don’t care. It’s going to make a great little story. This is what Marvel needs to be doing: putting great creators on arcs like these. Throw out the numbering, don’t worry about where it falls in continuity, just tell a great story. –JJ

Cover: 10/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 10/10 Relevance: 5/10 TOTAL: 33/40

uncanny x-force

Uncanny X-Force #6
Writer:  Sam Humphries
Artists:  Adrian Alphona & Dexter Soy

Wolverine and Psylocke shepherd a flock of sheep while Psylocke has a “heart-to-sword” with Spiral.

This issue was simply mediocre. Although the shepherding scenes in Psylocke’s mindscape were somewhat interesting, they kind of slowed the pace of the action down.  It’s like Alphona and Soy were having an arm-wrestling match. Alphona tried to grind things to a halt while Soy was trying to ramp up the fight scenes.  I personally enjoy Dexter Soy’s style, but I’m not really a fan of Adrian Alphona’s stuff and his Wolverine just looked awful.  That cowboy hat never quite seemed to fit right on Wolvie’s head. Soy’s fight scenes between Psylocke and Spiral looked fantastic though.

I have no real idea where Sam Humphries is going with this Fantomex and this Demon Bear thing. What is most interesting in this issue is the focus on Spiral.  We all know that she will inevitably join the team and Humphries is making sure the readers know that we can expect a lot of tension between her and Psylocke.  Tension between teammates is what made Uncanny X-Force a successful book in the past. It’s always an entertaining read when teammates have friction, but put it aside to accomplish a common task or mission.  Unfortunately though, this issue doesn’t really purpose any of the characters with a task per say. It just feels like Humphries is taking the long way around to get where he needs to go with this team. Wrap it up and get this team working together, Sam! –SG

Cover: 6/10 Writing: 5/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 4/10 TOTAL: 22/40


Wolverine #4
Writer:  Paul Cornell
Artist:  Alan Davis

Unfortunately, I am still not feeling Paul Cornell’s version of Wolverine.  There’s just something in this volume that feels “off” as he presents the final chapter in the “Hunting Season” story. This particular issue (ie: the ending) felt rushed and I am still left scratching my head as to what the hell the first page had to do with anything else in this issue.  And then the wrap up made even less sense. I guess Wolverine just misses taking orders from weird bald guys. In Cornell’s defense, I didn’t read parts one or three of this four-parter, so maybe I just missed something. Did Uatu have a purpose?

Plot aside, Paul Cornell just doesn’t seem to get Wolverine.  He is way too smiley and walks around barking orders at everyone and they all kind of just listen to him as if he was the goddamn President. He manipulates Nick Fury Jr. (who doesn’t really seem to have contributed anything at all to this story) and plants a big ol’guilt trip on some business executive to get what he wants.  What alternate version of the “stabby stabby” canuck is this? I don’t like seeing Logan play mind games, it’s not “what he does best”.

Alan Davis’ art is a throwback to the cleaner styled comic book art of the early 80’s. It’s not bad, but it’s not a style that particularly works in a Wolverine book in my opinion. The half-page panel of him jumping out of his jet before it explodes has him looking like Batroc the Leaper. The greatest moment in this issue should have been when Logan rips apart the cargo plane, but it really fell flat with some static looking action shots.  There was just no “weight” to them.  As much as those Adamantium claws can cut through anything, it doesn’t look right that Wolverine can cut half the twin engined wings off in with one swipe. I had no idea his claws were six feet long.

Bottom line is that I definitely not sold on this Wolverine title.  If it was in my sub, I would be dropping it after this issue. –SG

Cover: 5/10 Writing: 5/10 Art: 5/10 Relevance: 2/10 TOTAL: 17/40

wolverine & x-menWolverine & the X-Men #31
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Nick Bradshaw

Aaron takes us through a day at the new Hellfire Academy and it’s one very fun issue! Quentin Quire is attempting to find out what the Hellfire Club is up too while also trying to help Idie with her agenda. Whether she wants his help or not. There’s more students to meet and we get to see the courses the various bad guys are teaching. Though for Toad it seems like a return to normal instead of a new start.

What makes this issue work so well is that Aaron seems to have returned to what made this series work in the first place. It’s weird, funny, and still maintains great X-Men superhero action we’ve loved over the years. This is far from the lackluster recent previous issues that have been leading up to this and it’s about time. Along with the great intro to the story arc we get some very nice art from Nick Bradshaw. Combined with the colors from Laura Martin this issue looks as fun as it reads.

This is a pretty good time to hop into this series if you haven’t been reading or left for a while. With Aaron revealing what the plans (or at least some) of the Hellfire Club are along with Logan’s statement this should be really interesting! -IS

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

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: Savage Wolverine #6 is just fantastic! Keep it coming Zeb & Joe!
Infinite Speech: Wolverine and the X-Men #31 was a return to coolness and fun!
SpidermanGeek: Astonishing X-Men #63 brought Iceman to a whole new level of creepy.

Jeff Jackson

Infinite Speech




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