Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: Uncanny X-Men #2 (Vol. 3)

Uncanny X-Men #1 is in the books so let’s take a look at Uncanny X-Men #2. I was going to do this a little later and maybe throw in some non-comic book related posts first but I realized that my 250th blog is coming in within the next four posts and I needed to pump out something ASAP. So this post then another review of…“something” and then a two part blog to coincide with the 250th post.

Anyway like the previous title Uncanny X-Men #2 is written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Chris Bachalo. The last issue was a pretty enjoyable read and a good attention grabber. Can the book keep that going here?

Full review after the jump.




Emma Frost reacting to her lost telepathy with her usual maturity and grace
Now hiding in Canada in an abandoned Weapon X facility Cyclops’ team of X-Men (Emma Frost, Magik, and Magneto Magneto the White) and their new rescued students regroup. There is doubt among the group that they’re on the right path, especially from some of the students who are not handling the transition from normal teenager to fugitive very well. However Cyclops tells them that the Mutant Revolution is starting and that the future of their kind rests in their hands.

From a character standpoint this is an extremely well written book. I haven’t talked much about Brian Michal Bendis but I should point out that he basically wrote the vast majority of Ultimate Spider-Man and has been the mastermind behind the Avengers for most of the 2000s. Now since I don’t really like Ultimate Spider-Man all that much and actively dislike most of what went on with the Avengers the last you ten years you can understand that I was more than a little suspicious about him taking on my favorite superhero team. However I must say he’s done a terrific job so far. This is the first time in some years that I actually fully enjoyed the X-Men book that I was reading. Bendis seems to still be setting things up so there’s a lot of talking and not a whole lot of action so I can understand some people being annoyed by that. However for my money that just gave us more opportunity for character development, which is exactly what we got.

I really like what Bendis is doing with Emma Frost. We find out that she, like Cyclops, had her powers damaged by the Phoenix Force and is no longer able to read minds. That combined with the guilt and self-loathing she felt for betraying Cyclops in AvX she’s a much different character than we’re used to. She’s vulnerable, she lacks her trademark self-confidence, and she's more human than I think I’ve ever seen her. While we don’t get as much from Cyclops we do find that he, unlike how was described last issue, is greatly affected by the death of Professor X. Their relationship, which finality is made clear here, was handled in a more mature and satisfying way than pretty much 94% of relationships in superhero comics. Magik doesn’t say much but what she does say (and do) really makes it clear that there’s some serious shit going on in her brain that may or may not be good for the team down the road. These characters are really strongly written and I’m very much so looking forward to reading more of them.

Magneto the White doing his best Professor X impression
The students are mostly alright but we don’t spend as much time. I do really like Tempus and Christopher (the healer form the previous issue) who are clearly defined but I'm less invested with Fabio and Benjamin who spend most of the issue being really overwhelmed by the situation (which is understandable). As I said the plot is still mostly set up but the script is good and surprisingly fun so even though most of the book is the team talking to each other it’s still a really enjoyable read.

My opinion on the artwork is still the same; I don’t mind it. But the issue of Magik and Emma Frost looking identical in key shots is really distracting in this issue. The first time I read through it I had no idea who was saying what and it messed up the flow. I think that they should consider redesigning one of their costumes so they don’t look so damn similar (but not Emma’s; I’m intrigued by her lack of white uniform for the first time in, like, ever). This issue also still leaves a lot of answered questions. While Cyclops certainly comes off better, and gentler, than he has been recently I still don’t understand why he wouldn’t take these kids to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning that Wolverine runs. He makes no bones about it: these kids are here to train and hone their powers and their base has clearly been set up to be a school. But what would he need a school outside the jurisdiction of the other X-Men and what does it half to do with this “Mutant Revolution” he keeps talking about? The only answers I can come up with do not paint Scott Summers as being a particularly good human being…or a sane one. As the series goes on we get more info on this. “Cyclops is a self-righteous prick” is not the answer I want to have.

Though "Professor Summers" sounds better than "Professor Logan"
I loved this book. Issue One was good and it made me interested in reading more but Issue Two made me desperate to get the next one. Hell, the first opportunity I got after reading this I ran out and bought Issue 3 (review forthcoming). Not a lot happens in this book but the strength of the characters, and the fact that Cyclops is being written as an actual human being with good intentions for time in a while, make this book a must read for me. 

Uncanny X-Men #2 gets 4 Adorable Pandas out of 5.


Pros 

-Very well written character 

-The plot continues to intrigue 

Cons 

-Some character designs look too similar

-No real action

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