Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Uncanny X-Men #1 - Review

Bendis, Bachalo, and Uncanny X-Men


Brian Michael Bendis wowed readers with his take on Marvel's mutants with All-New X-Men, and now he continues to dazzle us with the first issue of the Marvel NOW! relaunch of Uncanny X-Men. The legacy of the X-Men in American storytelling and the comic book medium is one that many readers are protective of, and I'm happy to say that I really enjoyed this new take on Scott Summers. Bendis isn't afraid to take the classic moments of the X-Men franchise (finding new students, fighting sentinels, time travel, and social issues) and introduce them into a new paradigm.

The "Uncanny X-Men"

For those of you who haven't been following, the Phoenix Force took over Scott Summers and drove him to an unspeakable act -- killing Professor Charles Xavier. To atone for his crimes, Cyclops has made himself the face of the new mutant revolution. The Phoenix Force has brought a wave of new young mutants into the world, and Cyclops is ready to lead them to a brighter tomorrow.

This series picks up with a dark secret being outed by someone close to Cyclops, and breaks into an all out brawl against powerful enemies as the new X-Men (Emma Frost, Magik, Tempus, Magneto, and a yet to be named healer) try to save a new mutant in San Diego.
Sentinel throw down in San Diego
The writing by Bendis is just as strong as his characterizations in All-New X-Men. I've read Bendis' work on The Avengers here and there, but I'm convinced that he's much better suited for the mutant family. I haven't truly enjoyed Cyclops as a character since I was a little kid, and Bendis is taking the new direction that Summers has been pulled in and running with it. The relationship between Magneto and the rest of the team is just as interesting, as he's been reduced to a much less powerful version of his former self. It's all an interesting read, while being packed with action and life that makes me want to read the issue all over again.

A strange new mutant appears!

Chris Bachalo's artwork is astounding. I've always been a fan of his art style, and seeing a double-page spread of the X-Men fighting off Sentinels in the middle of the city is a real treat. I wasn't sure if I was going to like the new costumes that the team wears, but I think that it's important that they set themselves apart from who they were before the events of AvX. Bachalo makes the new costumes work with the situation in the story, and his cartooning and use of line make each detail pop. And it would be criminal not to mention his interesting layouts and pacing, which work well with Bendis' dialogue and story.

Uncanny X-Men is an example of how the Marvel NOW! relaunch can be effective in bringing in new readers. I hadn't been reading any X-Men titles (besides Wolverine and the X-Men) and now I'm reading almost all of them. Bendis is spearheading the mutant revolution, and this new ongoing take on a classic title is another unstoppable weapon in his arsenal.

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