Anghus Houvouras reviews the latest issue of Uncanny X-Men…
“See what life’s like at the new Xavier School.But what are they being trained for?“
Uncanny X-Men #11 might be my favorite single X-Men issue this century. The series has been a slam dunk for Marvel who has successfully paired Brian Michael Bendis’ penchant for chatty, character heavy stories with the mutant corner of the superhero universe. And it’s working out swimmingly. Both Uncanny and All New X-Men have been at the top of my reading list since the Marvel NOW! relaunch of 2012. The books have found a perfect rhythm blending an excellent story with amazing art with just the right amount of drama and comedy.
One of my biggest complaints about X-Men books in the past has been the ridiculous amount of characters and back story crammed into the X-titles making it difficult for new readers to jump in. The X-Men books have been notoriously obtuse over the years. Bendis is delivering a relatively large cast of characters while still making the stories feel compact.
Issue #11 picks up with a new Super Sentinel targeting Cyclops and his mutant students. The fugitive X-Men aren’t having the easiest time with this new threat. The more experienced members of the team are experiencing power fluctuations and the new students are ill prepared for the deadly Sentinel threat.
As I mentioned last month, Cyclops has never been this interesting or dynamic. A broken man seeking redemption, foiled at every turn. Pursued by SHIELD, The Avengers, and now a mysterious new threat, he’s pushed past the breaking point. In a more pedestrian story, this is where Scott Summers would find the will to overcome adversity and rise to the challenge. But Bendis makes a smart play and lets him fail. It’s a very human moment and is such a great scene for a character who all too often isn’t allowed to mire in failure. Instead, Magneto steps up and finds a way to save the day, making the Uncanny X-Men an even more puzzling blend of the enemy, the allies, and the inexperienced.
Frazer Irving is a gifted artist and delivers consistently picturesque artwork which is among the best in the industry. Uncanny X-Men #11 answers some questions and presents some new ones as all the X-titles prepare for September’s Battle of the Atom. After Age of Ultron, I’m not sure how I feel about Bendis doing another time travel story, but he’s bought a lot of goodwill with Uncanny X-Men, and I’m interested to see where all this is leading.
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker. His latest work, the novel My Career Suicide Note, is available from Amazon.