Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Reads You Review: UNCANNY X-MEN #1

UNCANNY X-MEN #1 (April 2013)

WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
INKS: Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey
LETTERS: VC’s Joe Caramagna
VARIANT COVERS: Skottie Young; Joe Quesada and Danny Miki with Richard Isanove; Francesco Francavilla; Gabriel Del’Otto; Stuart Immonen with Marte Gracia
28pp, Colors, $3.99 U.S.

Rated T+

Part of Marvel Comics’ Marvel NOW initiative (the re-launch of their comics line) is another re-launch of Uncanny X-Men. The new series is written by Brian Michael Bendis, who is also writing Uncanny’s sister title, All-New X-Men. For the time being, the art is being produced by Chris Bachalo (pencils) and Tim Townsend (inks). Longtime comic book readers know why I’m saying “for the time being.”

The roster of X-Men that makes up this new Uncanny X-Men is Cyclops, Magneto, Emma Frost the White Queen, Majik, and two new mutants. The newbies are an Australian girl, Tempus, and a boy who is a healer and who has not chosen his mutant name, yet. Cyclops/Scott Summers, one of the original X-Men, has become a highly controversial figure and is also the public face of a new mutant revolution.

Uncanny X-Men #1 opens in an underground S.H.I.E.L.D. interrogation bunker. Director Hill is about to interview a mysterious figure who has shown up out of nowhere. He has a tale to tell about Cyclops and his band of X-Men. It begins with the rescue of Fabio Medina, a young mutant whose powers have just awakened. What is this stranger really offering S.H.I.E.L.D. and what does he really want?

Brian Michael Bendis is proving himself to be the best X-Men writer in a decade or, at least since Grant Morrison on New X-Men. Bendis is doing his excellent work without making the changes Morrison did when he became an X-writer. In this first issue, the set-up of the mysterious stranger peddling information creates a thrilling sense of mystery, drama, and anticipation. It’s enough to have me coming back.

OK. Chris Bachalo. Yeah, used to like him a lot. He has done some really good work. Bachalo is from the school of eye-candy comic book art. He has sometimes been more about style than storytelling, and his compositions can be crowded, though not always. Gawd, remember Steampunk? Luckily, the crowding is down significantly. In Uncanny X-Men #1, the storytelling is off-kilter, at times, and the page design is sometimes a jumbled cluster-fk that makes certain pages annoying to read.

Thank God for Bendis.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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