Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review # 113: "Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 - Revolution"

I was disappointed when Kieron Gillen's "Uncanny X-Men" got the axe. I felt that his version of the team - centered around Cyclops' new "mutant force" - was only just getting started. I was glad to learn that Brian Michael Bendis - in addition to writing to "All-New X-Men" - would be relaunching "Uncanny" with key proponents of Gillen's cast. Namely: Cyke, Magneto, Emma Frost and Magik.

Cyclops is now more of a loose cannon than ever before. In addition to his cloudy motives, his powers have also gone out of whack since his exposure to the Phoenix Force. The same goes for Emma, Magik and - by proximity - Magneto. The team finds itself at odds with the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Wolverine's X-Men... and continually ends up getting the better of them all for the most part.

In ways this series is a throwback. These X-Men are outlaws, much like they were in the 80's. However, they're also a school, recruiting new mutants. In a twisted touch, Scott names the school after Charles Xavier, the man he killed. That hangs heavy over this series.

"Uncanny X-Men" is written very much like a drama, reminiscent of Bendis' time on "Daredevil." Trust me: this is a great thing. Cyclops and his team have A+ verbal confrontations with Cap and Logan. There are also dynamite exchanges between Scott and Magneto and Scott and Emma. The latter hammering out their relationship issues (after the two betrayed each other while under the Phoenix Force's influence in "Avengers vs. X-Men") is the highlight of this series-opening trade.

Unfortunately, the dramatic style does not lend itself very well to artist Chris Bachalo. His strength is action sequences, which makes his assignment to a wordy title like this a little baffling. Also, his drawings of Scott and Emma are just plain weird. They're too young. You can't have someone thinking Scott is 40 in the companion series and then draw him like he's 20 here. Also, Scott's new costume design with a giant "X" in the middle of his head instead of his traditional visor is atrocious.

Still, that does not take too much away from what is a great start to an intriguing series. The core group is solid, the new students are entertaining, and a "shades of grey" team like this has a lot of potential directions to pursue.

Rating: 8/10

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