I finally got around to picking up Uncanny X-Men #12 just as Uncanny X-Men #13 came out. No review on #12, but I’m liking where this series is headed provided we don’t lose any more long time X-Men.
Cyclops and Wolverine successfully tracked down a holding cell for mutants last issue. Among the imprisoned mutants were Havok, Multiple Man, Wolfsbane, Magik and two Warlock-infused New Mutants in Karma and Mirage. The rescue attempt doesn’t go completely smoothly as Strong Guy sacrifices himself to save his pals. I always liked Guido and kinda liked the teams within a team with the X-Factor contingent of Guido, Alex, Jamie and Rahne. My biggest gripe with this team is there’s no black members. And why are Storm and Bishop still the most prominent black X-Men since 1993?
Issue #13 finds the refugees trying to figure out their next move. For now they’re laying low, but this isn’t a long-term strategy. Fortunately Cyclops has one and it’s a doozy. Instead of waiting on some magical return of the X-Men or some new trigger to kickstart the next generation of mutants, Cyclops wants this squad to be as proactive as his elite assassin hit-squad version of X-Force minus the killing in making the world better for everyone, not just mutants. They’re going to go after some of the X-Men’s biggest foes and the list is surprisingly long. Maybe it’s a suicide pact as one member suggests, but it’s the kind of clear agenda that too many comics lack these days.
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Writer Matthew Rosenberg has a solid command of the character’s voices and there’s some good banter between Cyclops and Wolverine. Rosenberg isn’t writing like no one remembers Cyclops’ flaws, but it’s not going to be this ongoing plot thread where the rest of the team constantly mentions that period of time he went crazy. There’s some great character moments here including Cyclops’ roll-call to see who’s with him. This X-Men squad with no money, base or extravagant resources is a throwback to the Outback Era team, which featured some of the more memorable stories in the X-Men’s history.
Rosenberg doesn’t waste too much time pitting the team against a formidable opponent — one capable of being a threat to an experienced X-squad.
Artist Salvador Larroca has been a consistently strong force since the 90s and his work has only gotten more refined without losing any of his touch. His characters look more realistic, his backgrounds more detailed and the overall story flow has improved.
My lone gripe with Larrcoa’s artwork is he doesn’t draw Wolverine short enough. Somewhere along the way (circa Hugh Jackman making Wolverine a blockbuster star) Wolverine started being drawn inconsistently. His shorter stature actually contributed to Wolverine’s overall bada$$ness. He didn’t need to be average height to kick and rip this much tail??? Larroca has Wolverine looking a lot closer to normal. I love the subtle new touches on Cyclops with the slightly unkempt hair, five o’clock shadow and trendy new Ruby Quartz glasses.
It’s pretty cool seeing Larroca’s take on some of the more classic X-Men costumes like Cyclops’ Jim Lee pouch-packed attire and Wolverine’s orange and brown outfit.
The X-Men books have been all over the place in recent years, but this streamlined, back to basics approach is working well immediately. This is the kind of fresh take that was needed. No school, no neophyte X-Men and no surplus of resources. Just a team of mutants trying to make the world a better place. Sure sounds like a superior approach to me.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: Marvel Comics