Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Uncanny X-Men # 1 Review

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, Al Vey & Jamie Mendoza
Marvel Comics


            Normally, I would give you a brief history but the book does that for you. We get an interesting device of the issue being narrated by the person that is the Judas to Cyclops’ revolution. This was definitely a different Cyclops. Yet, it works and fits with everything that has occurred since Avengers vs X-Men. Cyclops is now an outlaw and considered a revolutionary with the mutant population booming again.
            His team scoops in to gather a brand new mutant only  to encounter Sentinels. Magneto, depowered a little bit because of the Phoenix (which still makes me scratch my head since the Phoenix attacked other mutants and their powers didn’t go gaga like his) and a now over powered Cyclops takes them down. The rest of the team gathers a young man  who just dealt with emerging powers. Not much on Magik but Eva who we saw in All New X-Men is now going by Tempus.
            Our narrator seems to be talking to Maria Hill & Nick Fury Jr. At the end, we get a reveal of our Judas. And I will just keep it there.


            Bachalo’s style has always been very different. I do not know many people with a similar style (the closest being Mark Buckingham but his style evolved differently than Bachalo’s). There are gritter inks to it but there are some definitely uses of propaganda art throughout the comic that helps give it the right feel, thanks to the inking team of Vey, Townsend & Mendoza. Cyclops is indeed leading a revolution now. And I hope this ride is a very, very long one … LIKE AT LEAST A DECADE. Anyway, Bachalo not only pencils the issue but also colors it himself. And Bachalo’s art looks amazing.
            Each panel is distinct and rich but there are pieces where things really work in terms of art that deals with Cyclops’ revolution. It is like the book continues to not only side with Cyclops visually, but shows you dramatic pieces that jump at you as if it were a program. Bachalo does not disappoint with the Sentinels either. Yet, I am not too keen on Magneto’s redesign. There were a couple of panels that seemed a bit  . .. fast. Like the opening panel with Hill, Coulson & Fury walking down a corridor. I have seen Bachalo’s work for years but I don’t know if it was the pencils or inks but it feels like that panel was rushed to get into the “good stuff.”  Each panel, in my mind, is important but that one just looked rushed or lazy. Yet, the coloring makes the panels vivid and working towards a propaganda style that goes along with Cyclops revolution. Otherwise, a solid job by Bachalo.


            This is probably one of the most inventively written books from Bendis. As I touched on with the art, there is a sense that is book is continuing giving you propaganda. From Cyclops’ image on the first page, to multiple panels which show Mutants getting attacked. Bendis crafts a great opening issue. He gives you the background. He sets up problems with SHIELD. He sets up this new mission of Cyclops’ yet also gives a very interesting look at it. Already, one of Cyclops’ most trusted X-Men are betraying him. Yet, we see loads of propaganda that prove Cyclops’ point visually while we are being told the opposite about Cyclops verbally. It makes an interesting was to go through the issue. It enhances what is going on even more and makes an interesting statement in the causes that Cyclops is now championing.
            Each characters voice was interesting. Yet, I find that for a book called Uncanny X-Men, we seem to have a split focus on SHIELD as well. Still, Bendis writes a bit darker here and it works. The use of propaganda over topped by the Judas’ narrative was inventive. The characters’ voices rang true. A great solid first issue by Bendis.


            Bendis continues his mastery over all things X-Men with an inventive start for Uncanny X-Men’s third volume. The flavor of added propaganda mixed with narration from one of the people that is supposed to be one of its champions was a great storytelling device. Bachalo’s art is just as inventive with interesting colors and panel work, yet some of it was a little lazy. Otherwise, I am excited to see where this road takes Cyclops.


            I give this book an 8.0 out of 10. A few lazy panels aside, I loved the opening of this book and look forward to more.

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