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November 2, 2012

The Uncanny X-Piles 113

Welcome to the 113th edition of the Uncanny X-Piles! Despite Hurricane Sandy and some of the guys losing power, the X-Piles are here, and things are looking good as most of this week’s books rose on the charts!
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 Avengers: 32
2. Wolverine & the X-Men: 31 (33)
3. Uncanny X-Men: 31 (16)
4. A-Babies Vs. X-Babies: 30 (first issue)
5. Uncanny X-Force: 29 (31)
6. Wolverine: 29 (27)
7. Age of Apocalypse: 28 (28)
8. X-Factor: 27 (27)
9. AvX: Consequences: 27 (14)
10. X-Men: Legacy: 26 (17)
11. Gambit: 25 (24)
12. New Mutants: 19 (16)
13. Astonishing X-Men: 22 (16)
14. First X-Men: 14 (13)
15. X-Treme X-Men: 10 (16)
16. Wolverine MAX: 11 (first issue)
X-Men: 9 (12)
“A-Babies vs. X-Babies” #1
Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Gurihiru
Ever since Mojo turned the X-Men into baby versions of themselves back in Uncanny X-Men Annual #10 fans have enjoyed these types of stories. Well, after the mediocre event that was Avengers vs X-Men this was a more than welcome distraction. What we get in this title is exactly what the cover suggests as baby versions of the X-Men and Avengers fight it out at the corner of Fury Drive and Xavier Way. What’s also great is that the reason for this fight TOTALLY makes more sense than the one that brought these two teams to blows in the original series. So, when Scotty Summers steals Steve Rogers aptly named “Bucky Bear” the call goes out to the other A-Babies to come together and rescue the precious teddy bear from the X-Babies. What happens is one very funny and entertaining free for all as the two teams try to be the last ones holding that bear.
Skottie Young creates some very good moments and the dialogue is perfect. Sure there’s not a lot of it because when it’s all said and done you really didn’t pick this title up for some existential read. Young knows this and it’s clearly evident that the fun he had writing this was transferred directly to the story. He gets to the point quickly and then let’s the artwork of Gurihiru do what it’s supposed to. Much of the humor in the issue is from the visual storytelling and there are so many good ones scattered among the panels in this issue. From Nick Fury’s star shaped eye patch to a surprise appearence from a baby Galactus who is sucking on the moon as if it were a bottle. The two page spread that kicks off the fight is one great opener and everything pretty much continues to just get better after that.
It’s always refreshing when a company can just kick back and have some fun with one of their high profile events. A-Babies vs X-Babies is a very fun read that proves one undeniable point: It was all Cyclops’s fault! – IS
Cover: 9/10  Writing: 8/10 Art: 8/10  Revalance: 5/10 TOTAL: 30/40
“Astonishing X-Men” #55
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Mike Perkins
If you’re like me, you probably feel a little bit lost after reading this issue. Whether it’s because you fell asleep at some point and just kept turning the pages anyway or maybe it’s because you read so many other, better comics in between “Astonishing X-Men” issues that you simply forgot what happened the last time and didn’t bother to read the recap page. Either way, I’m not actually trying to say that Marjorie Liu’s writing is bad, because in my honest opinion it’s not. The writing is good, but not great.
The story readers have been trying to follow since she came aboard is just so uninteresting.  I think Marjorie failed to introduce us to her version of these X-Men before throwing the reader into such an ambitious story arc. It boils down to the simple fact that I just don’t care about any of these character and if I don’t care about the characters, I won’t care about their story.
Mike Perkins’ art isn’t helping matters either. Perkins was great on “The Stand” and the style and quality of his work has been the same in “Astonishing X-Men”, but I don’t think he is the best candidate for an X-Men book.  There’s just something about it that doesn’t jive. It feels too dark, too gritty.  You have a collection of the most colorful and flamboyant members of the X-Men here.  I mean, these are the characters you see coming from a mile away.  Wolverine, Iceman, Gambit, Northstar and Warbird aren’t exactly the inconspicuous types, but Perkins’ art tones them down so much that they start to blend in with the extras.  It’s probably why most of the action panels contain no backgrounds; we’d completely lose the characters to them.  All the female characters look the same too.  I have trouble telling Karma apart from the woman in the purple dress and the woman in the red skirt. Who the hell are those chicks anyway?
Bottom line is that unless you actually have some sort of sentimental attachment or past history and experience with some of the characters on the roster, you won’t care a lick about the story.  Liu needs to do something that will appeal to new readers that actually want to give a damn.
That Phil Noto cover is kicks ass though. –SG
Cover: 7/10 Writing: 6/10 Art: 5/10 Relevance: 4/10 TOTAL: 22/40
“AvX: Consequences” #3
Kieron Gillen
Artist: Scot Eaton
A title like “AvX: Consequences” makes perfect sense to actually put a cap on this event when it’s all said and done. The only gripe about it is that there is so much going on and Kieron Gillen is trying to tie up several loose ends all at once. This hinders the stories as it’s just a few pages with a quick look into what’s each character is dealing with. Of course Scott’s story takes center stage as he fights for his life in prison and is working his plan within a plan. Iron Man is attempting to help K’un Lun though the Thunderer insists that they will be fine. There is also the letter given to Storm by Magik and what it may reveal about the whereabouts of Colossus. Though all are pretty good reads this issue just seems to be all over the place but the strong dialogue in most of the book keeps it from being too annoying.
Scot Eaton and Andrew Hennesy is an art team that always delivers. Their going to give you a book that looks great with some strong scenes that don’t necessarily have to be filled with action and fights. Eaton will bring the emotions of the characters to the forefront during the tense meeting scenes giving them the impact needed to be just as interesting as the more chaotic parts. I will say that even though the book looked great the fight in the jail really didn’t flow so well. Mainly because there were issues with the fight choreagraphy itself. From how the bodies ended up positioned and the direction of some of the attacks it looked very awkward.
Aside from the pacing issues and awkward fight choreagraphy this is a decent epilogue so far though I’m hoping that it doesn’t end up just making Cyclops out to be some squeky clean martyr.-IS
Cover: 5/10 Writing: 6/10 Art: 8/10 Relevance: 8/10 TOTAL: 27/40
“Gambit” #4
Writer: James Asmus
Artist: Clay Mann (w/ Leonard Kirk)
Gambit is finally freed from the mystical artifact that had latched onto his body in the first issue of this series. The mystery woman he is partnered with used him so she could couple the artifact with its “other half” and be granted the power of the gods themselves, so she thought.
The proverbial shit hits the fan when the artifact actually opens a gate into another realm and a 3 headed dragon pokes its head through it to attack our titular hero.  The mystery woman soon falls into the role of damsel in distress and Gambit kicks the heroics into overdrive.
Honestly, this issue is short on words.  So I can’t really praise Asmus for any kind of in depth writing here, but the action is just as much a part of any script as dialog is and in that aspect, Asmus delivers in spades.  Sure, most of the lines are extremely cliché, but it just adds to the summer blockbuster action film feel that this book has had since the beginning.  My only worry is that we are slightly starting to forget who Gambit is.  He’s a thief and an X-Man, not an adventuring do-gooder. Although, similar to Wolverine, the solo aspect seems fitting for him. I am also still very much intrigued with the mystery woman and Asmus gives us a little nibble at that veil by revealing her first name by the end of the book.  Of course, if you’ve been following since the beginning, you’d know to cast doubt on any supposed truth that comes from her mouth.
I’m loving Clay Mann’s art. This is actually a really sexy book.  Ladies will love all of the shirtless shots of Remy and the guys will take an extra second to appreciate any panel that the mystery woman is featured in.  We’re not talking “Frank Cho” sexy here, but rather a more subtle level of appeal that comes out of Mann’s almost perfect representation of the human form.
Bottom line is that this is still a fun book if you’re looking for something that is set apart from the big Marvel events. Hopefully we will see more of the mystery woman in future stories, I just hope that James Asmus keeps her as mysterious as possible for as long as he can. –SG
Cover: 6/10 Writing: 7/10 Art: 8/10 Relevance: 4/10 TOTAL: 25/40
“Wolverine” #315
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Paul Pelletier
Once again, I have to say that I’m loving the team of Cullen Bunn and Paul Pelletier on this title, and I’m really disappointed that they aren’t continuing after the relaunch. It will be hard for Frank Cho to follow up these creators, as well as the shoulders of Jason Aaron upon which they are standing.
Bunn has the voices of these character down perfectly. Wolverine is frequently in a team-up with a strong female, and usually gets stabbed in the back by her (or in this case, shot in the face). Logan’s gruff temperament is handled really well by Bunn as well as his determination to find out what has happened to the Dreaming Maiden, a person he was supposed to have killed 70 years ago. On top of this mystery, Logan confronts the mysterious Murderous Lion, who is all kinds of kung-fu crazy. The best part of this fight was Logan thrusting his hand into the hole in Lion’s chest and extending and retracting his claws furiously inside. A very cool fighting tactic for one who has adamantium claws.
Pelletier’s art continues to sing. It seems that Marvel has really missed the boat with him, as DC has offered him one of their current top hits, “Aquaman,” with their top writer, Geoff Johns. This guy should have been drawing “AvX,” in my opinion. His clean style, his panel layout, and his excellent action sequences puts him on top of the heap for me right now. He’s been compared to the style of Alan Davis, but in my humble opinion, he’s surpassing Davis in terms of his character acting and body language. It’s a real treat.
My only complaint about this issue is that I had no idea who the Covenant was. I had to go and look them up on the Marvel Database, and discovered that they were created by Bunn only earlier this year in the “Captain America & Namor” title. I wish Vanessa’s introduction in last issue would have been a little clearer. This issue gives us more info on the group, as I’m sure Bunn is developing their story over the course of this one. They are much like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which is a cool idea to have in the Marvel Universe with various old-school characters like Ulysses Bloodstone.
If you haven’t been getting this in issues, I’d say hold off and get the trade when it comes out because I bet it will be a great read altogether.  –JJ
Cover: 7/10 Writing: 7/10 Art: 9/10 Relevance: 6/10 TOTAL: 29/40

Briefly X-Posed:
“Wolverine MAX” #1: Jason Starr, Roland Boschi, & Connor Willumsen offer us a look at a Wolverine book if it had more foul language. That’s about all that sets this book apart from any other Wolverine book. The art really struggles to tell a clear story here. Boschi needs to be put on some non-superhero books. This book is not worth picking up. –JJ
Cover: 7/10 Writing: 3/10 Art: 1/10 Relevance: 0/10 TOTAL: 11/40
Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: A-Babies Vs. X-Babies #1
was just hilarious and wonderful!
Infinite Speech: Once I got to the baby Galactus scene I knew A-Babies Vs. X-Babies #1 was my top pick!
SpidermanGeek: Gambit #4 I am still really enjoying reading Gambit’s solo adventures.
Jeff Jackson
Infinite Speech



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