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December 19, 2012

The Uncanny X-Piles 120

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Written by: Jeff
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Welcome to the 120th edition of the Uncanny X-Piles! Cable’s back with new team of X-Forcers, another Wolverine series comes to a close, and AoA Wolverine & Sabretooth duke it out! What do the guys think about all of that? Read on, true believer!

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. Wolverine : 30 (24)

6. Uncanny Avengers: 29 (32)

7. A + X: 29 (28)

8. X-Factor: 27 (30)

9. Cable & X-Force: 27 (first issue)

10. Astonishing X-Men: 26 (18)

11. X-Men: 22 (26)

12. Gambit: 22 (23)

13. Age of Apocalypse: 20 (22)

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

15. First X-Men: 11 (14)


“Age of Apocalypse” #10
Writer: David Lapham
Artist: Roberto De La Torre
Cover: Kris Anka

Jean Grey is on the run with Weapon Omega hot on her heels. Meanwhile, Prophet meets with Penance to acquire a weapon that could potentially separate Logan from the Apocalypse power.

Much of the issue focuses on Jean’s escape through some tunnels. She fights off danger at every turn before finally coming face to face with Weapon Omega. Before the two really get the chance to do any chit chatting, Sabretooth steps in for what will possibly be his final battle against Logan. In the context of what’s been going on in “Age of Apocalypse”, this issue only inches the big story along. Aside from the battle between Sabretooth and Weapon Omega, Prophet reveals his plans for Jean Grey and that’s pretty much it. We also get a surprise appearance by someone in the final panel.

There’s not really all that much to be said about the writing. Lapham handles the dialog well, giving each character a distinct voice. The showdown between Logan and Victor Creed was a little anti-climactic and failed to quench the thirst of those itching to see these two duke it out. Considering Logan’s power level and Victor’s lack thereof, I guess one shouldn’t really have expected to see this fight carry on for 3 issues worth of panels.

As far as the art goes, Roberto De La Torre has a unique gift for making “messy” pencils look highly detailed. There’s something about the way he puts a scene together that really works. The use of heavy shadows to set the gritty ambiance was well applied. One thing that you might notice though, and this might be just a “Rob” thing, but it seems like in a lot of instances, De La Torre went out of his way to ensure that he didn’t have to draw feet on his characters. Otherwise, the pencils don’t really offer much to get excited about. Again, the big fight kind of just fizzled.

Kris Anka’s cover to this issue beautifully mirrors the tone found on the inside. No complaints here.

The bottom line is that this issue is a bit of a throwaway. A heavier emphasis on the Sabretooth/Weapon Omega fight would have gone a long way, but with it falling short, the book ultimately ends up being pretty forgettable and the reader could have gotten as much entertainment by reading the recap in the opening pages of “Age of Apocalypse” #11. –SG

Cover: 6/10 Writing: 6/10 Art: 6/10 Relevance: 2/10 TOTAL: 20/40

“Cable & X-Force” #1
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist/Cover: Salvador Larroca

For those of you that were chomping at the bit for an X-Force team led by the legendary Cable then the wait is now over. From the beginning of the issue we’re thrown right into a tense moment as Cable and his new team are face to face with Havok and the Uncanny Avengers. After an exchange of words, series writer, Hopeless takes us back a few days to show Cable’s recruitment of  this merry band of mutants. We get a pretty good idea of why each one is chosen except for Colossus though it’s evident that will be explained later. Hope shows up as well to tie up some lose ends.

For the most part Hopeless delivers a solid issue that has a nice amount of action and mystery to keep you invested in this team’s beginnings. There’s some explanation about what’s happened to Cable’s body since his “cure” and even Forge isn’t too annoying here. Then Hope shows up and the momentum shift is a bit distracting and seems like filler. Though it’s meant to put a cap on the Cable/Hope situation it seemed to slow things down to a sluggish crawl before the reader is hit with the cliff hanger.

One thing that really helps keep things worthwhile here is Larroca’s artwork. The double page spread of the team was eye grabbing and D’Armatat’s colors just puts it over the top. Tense moments like the standoff between Havok and Cable was a high point for issue in terms of visuals. The actual character and costume designs are welcome for the four that have been around quite some time. Though the newer Dr. Nemesis resembled Fantomex without the ninja mask, his new look gives him a more sinister edge in appearence. The design for Cable’s new arm does look a bit silly and he even says that in the issue but it fires rockets so I guess that’s a plus.

Time will tell if this new version of X-Force is worth your time or is able share shelf space with the upcoming new “Uncanny X-Force” series. For now a lot less Hope and more focus on the characters on the cover will be a step in the right direcetion. – IS

Cover: 8/10 Writing: 6/10 Art: 7/10 Relavance: 6/10 TOTAL: 27/40

“Wolverine” #317
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Paul Pelletier
Cover: Mike Del Mundo

This is it! The final issue of “Wolverine.” Ever. Until Frank Cho’s “Savage Wolverine” and Paul Cornell’s “Wolverine” come out next year, that is. Much like Logan himself, the “Wolverine” title continues to regenerate from seeming death.

This series of the ol’ Canucklehead goes out on a high note. After Jason Aaron’s epic run on the book, Cullen Bunn and Paul Pelletier took the ball and ran with it, scoring some unheralded touchdowns. If you haven’t been reading this book (or if you got thrown off when Jeph Loeb and Simone Bianchi did that awful “Sabretooth Returns” run), then I would think you should pick up the trades of Bunn and Pelletier’s run.

This issue ties up everything concerning the Dreaming Maiden, a dangerous superhuman who’s powers create all kinds of havoc in the dreams of those to whom she doesn’t like. Logan was sent to kill her by the mysterious group the Covenant, but instead had compassion and hid her away. Bunn really plays up the fact that Logan doesn’t mind killing people unless they are children or beautiful women. Last issue, Seraph’s Angels, a group of Wolverine’s ex-girlfriends showed up to rescue him, continuing the theme that once a woman gets involved with Logan, she can never truly get uninvolved. Bunn has a great grasp of Logan’s character, and especially explores the complicated relationship he has with Melita Garner. In a previous arc, Dr. Rot carved out all of Logan’s memories of Melita, and therefore he is having to rediscover his feelings for her.

We finally get to see the totality of the Covenant group, and having seen them, I am much more interested in them. A secret society made up of a vigilante, a mad scientist, a detective, a monster hunter, and more has some real potential. My only wish is that Bunn had made it clearer in the first issue of this arc who they were and what their modus operandi was.

Once again, Pelletier nails it. His work is often compared to Alan Davis, and I would venture to say that it’s a tad-bit more details and stronger. Pelletier has a more visceral tone to his art, and he’s not afraid to draw some truly disturbing violence like huge gashes in Logan’s arm or a guy trying to hold onto his guts. Davis’ work is a little safer, but we’ll see more in the upcoming book he’s doing with Cornell. On another note, a Pelletier-drawn old-school-costume Logan is superb! As someone who has an “Incredible Hulk” #181 ornament on his Christmas tree, I have always loved Wolverine’s original costume and long for a return to it.

A brief word on the cover by Mike Del Mundo, which is absolutely beautiful in it’s color and sublime surrealism. Well done there!

In closing, I’ll say that Bunn and Pelletier have been a perfect team for this book, and it’s a shame they can’t continue developing their story. I think we would have seen more work on Logan and Melita, as well as Logan’s missing memories from Dr. Rot’s shenanigans. I hope that Cornell or Cho pick up on this quiet, but important development in Logan’s life and that it doesn’t get swept under the rug. –JJ

Cover: 8/10 Writing: 7/10 Art: 9/10 Relevance: 6/10 TOTAL: 30/40

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week
Jeff: After writing my review, I realized that “Wolverine” #317 was my favorite X-book this week.
Infinite Speech: This was one stinky pile this week.
SpidermanGeek: I didn’t like anything covered on the X-Piles this week.

Jeff Jackson

Infinite Speech




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