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December 12, 2012

The Uncanny X-Piles 119

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Written by: Jeff
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Welcome to the 119th edition of the Uncanny X-Piles! A light week for X-fans, and it doesn’t look very favorable for the few that did come out. What did the guys think?

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. Wolverine & the X-Men: 32 (18)

2. All-New X-Men: 31 (40)

3. Uncanny X-Men: 31 (16)

4. Uncanny X-Force: 30 (34)

5. Uncanny Avengers: 29 (32)

6. A + X: 29 (28)

7. X-Factor: 27 (30)

8. Astonishing X-Men: 26 (18)

9. Wolverine : 24 (29)

10. X-Men: 22 (26)

11. Gambit: 22 (23)

12. Age of Apocalypse: 22 (28)

13. X-Men: Legacy: 16 (22)

14. First X-Men: 11 (14)


“All-New X-Men” #3
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen

The focus of this issue shifts to deal with the plans of Cyclops and his X-Men as he makes attempts to rebuild. Though while he and Magneto attempt to rescue a not so willing Emma Frost they find out that being touched by the Phoenix has somehow changed their powers. This results in a much more violent rescue attempt than planned but it’s the tounge lashing Cyclops recieves from Emma that hits close to home as she brings some harsh truths to the surface.

Bendis may have slowed down the action in this issue however he builds some great emotional tension throughout. Having Scott use the Phoenix basically as a scapegoat for everything he did wrong was expected. However, Bendis gives this much more depth and context during the conversation between Magneto and Scott that builds on what Emma started earlier. So, whether you’re a fan of Cyclops and his actions over the past few months or not there’s still a very solid character here to either love or hate. Bendis also throws in a bit of a dark moment with Magik and her thoughts about what Colossus will do when he finds out about the death of Professor X. With any luck Bendis is hinting to a future confrontation that we’ll get to see.

Immonen isn’t one of those artists thats just all splash pages and big explosions. As good as he makes the action packed panels look he’s great at getting the emotion across in those quieter moments. Kudos also go to colorist and inker Marte Garcia and Wade Von Grawbadger that complete the art team that makes this title look as good as it does.

Slowly but surely Bendis is solidifying this time travel story and it looks like he’s going to turn it into something exciting and more. All of the elements are there and the creative team is giving you your money’s worth in yet another great issue! –IS

Cover: 6/10 Writing: 8/10 Art:  9/10 Relevance: 8/10 TOTAL: 31/40

“X-Factor” #248
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Paul Davidson

The events of Multiple Man & Butterfly’s Vegas trip are starting to intertwine and merge with Pip the Troll’s recent solo adventure in the pages of “X-Factor”. Readers will probably still wonder where the PAD is going with all of this mystic hell stuff, but at least all the members of the X-Factor team are starting to operate on the same proverbial page.

Peter David continues to write a realistic and humorous dialog as the current cast of mutants and troll are starting to display a good team dynamic. Polaris is a much more interesting character without Havok hanging around. Peter David also continues to hint at a connection between Longshot and Shatterstar, letting the fans know that he hasn’t forgotten about that little subplot. The chemistry between Jamie and Layla is second to none. PAD makes these two so real, that you hope your phone will ring and it will be them calling to invite you to dinner. Although with their penchant for trouble, I don’t know if accepting that invitation would be the wisest decision.

Paul Davidson’s art just isn’t doing it for me. Almost every panel, every face and figure looks oddly skewed. I had to check to see if I was holding my comic properly while reading it. The inks are good and the color palette is consistent with what “X-Factor” readers are used to, no complaints there, but this book is starting to nose dive in the pencils department. Davidson offers a certain grittiness in his art that suits this series, but there’s also an element to his style that is just plain distracting. Thanos makes a cameo and he looks like he should be sitting on a picnic bench, cast in bronze while holding a fake Happy Meal outside of the local McDonald’s.

David Williams & Jay David Ramos handled the cover for #248 and really nailed it. M’s pose and unimpressed look as Death herself looms over her with the scythe is priceless and makes even more sense once the reader has gotten to the back cover. Be sure to take a second gander and admire the subtleties found in this image. I certainly dug it and it’s probably my favorite “X-Factor” cover of 2012.

Bottom Line: Unless you are a long time reader of “X-Factor”, you probably will not find much enjoyment in this specific issue. But for those of us who have been following, we know something good’s just over the horizon and we should hang on because the ride is about to get bumpy. –SG

Cover: 8/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 5/10 Relevance: 6/10 TOTAL: 27/40

“X-Men” #39
Writer: Seth Peck
Artists: Paul Azaceta & Matthew Southworth
Cover: David Lopez

I was so pleasantly surprised by last issue so I had much higher expectations for this one. Unfortunately, Peck fails to stick the landing.

I have a feeling this is another one of those truncated story lines that Peck imagined might be longer, but editorial made him cut it down because this title is soon to end. This issue felt like there was a lot to wrap up, even though there was only one introductory issue.

Domino and Daredevil successfully team-up and make quite a dynamic duo. Peck excels at writing the two of these characters and make them work well together. At the end of last issue, Domino and Daredevil find out that someone is selling all kinds of super-villain weapons to the crime community. Once they do some digging, they find the villain behind it all is an ex-SHIELD agent who is looking for vengeance because he lost his daughter after a superhero fight injured her.

I feel like the payoff of the antagonist of the story was a bit of a letdown. I feel like I had already read a story like this before. It really felt like an episode of a superhero cartoon, where these heroes team up, they uncover the baddie, they defeat him pretty soundly, and he gets carted off to prison. Not much here to really sink your teeth into. Peck balances narration between Daredevil, Domino, and the ex-SHIELD agent, but I thought the latter dialogue was unnecessary.

I like Azaceta and Southworth’s styles on this book and would love to see them on a regular book. The style much like that of other artists like Paolo Rivera, Chris Samnee, and Marcos Martin, with simple, clean lines and heavy inks. It’s a nice fit for this book too featuring two street-level heroes.

David Lopez’s cover is a nice feature to Domino, one of the lesser-known and least popular X-women. If this issue was meant to be a pilot for Domino,  I hate to say it might not get picked up. This kind of story is better used in an anthology. –JJ

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

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: Not much this week that grabbed me. I was really disappointed with ANXM, so I guess “X-Men” #39 is my pick.
Infinite Speech: I’m going to have to go with “All New X-Men” #3 this week. Nothing else seemed to grab me.
SpidermanGeek: “All-New-X-Men” #3 is a refreshing read and I like seeing Cyclops in such a vulnerable state. Kind of makes me look forward to Bendis’ “Uncanny X-Men” relaunch.

Jeff Jackson

Infinite Speech




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