This week Marvel’s biggest X-Men title “Uncanny X-Men” was relaunched. Again.
All New All Different relaunch
Since Marvel nowadays has the habit of relaunching series on a regular basis, the impact of such relaunch is a lot less every time. Although Marvel wants us to believe it will be “All-new and all-different” with every relaunch, the real question is whether it just gives writers the space to create a new status quo or that the series gives us truly sparkling and renewing stories.
The series X-Men Blue and Gold recently ended, while Extermination has 1 issue left to go, but with the absence of the time-displaced original X-Men in the Uncanny X-Men teaser picture by David Marquez, it’s obvious their story will really end in Extermation.
So no time displaced Original 5 (or O5) X-Men, but the teaser picture promises us a very extenstive X-Men cast. From the old-timers to the young X-students and newcomers like Trinary.
Uncanny X-men #1
On to the story in Uncanny X-men #1, which start with a panicked Jamie Madrox dupe who’s looking for Kitty Pryde, after he is murdered by X-23 and we see the X-Men in battle with tons of Madrox dupes who are all asking where Kitty Pryde is. Throughout the entire story it becomes clear Madrox knows more than he is saying, but the X-Men are unable get a grip on him.
Meanwhile Kitty Pryde is piloting the Blackbird, on her way with a number of X-students to a group of C-villains. Before they arrive, Kitty suddenly disappears, causing the plane to crash. The students don’t have time to think about their missing mentor, because they are immediately confronted by Dragoness, Forearm, Samurai, Strobe and Wildside, aka the Mutant Liberation Front (MLF). This comes with a minus; it bothers me that once again a writer ignores or overlooks small but important details: Forearm and Strobe are depowered since M-Day (Wildside too, but he was temporarily repowed thank to Mothervine in X-Men Blue). Don’t get me wrong, although I was greatly disappointed at the time Marvel robbed many mutants of their powers during M-Day (and therefore many mutants would be forgotten in “limbo”) and I’m glad to see a number of mutants restored again. However it is a pity that the writer doesn’t bother to give any explanation for this. Apart from that, it’s nice to see the students in action against old skool X-Men foes.
Another relaunch, another anti-mutant senator
A new start for the X-Men also means a new enemy. This time in the form of an anti-mutant senator named Ashton Allen. Not really a unique enemy (remember Senator Kelly, Graydon Creed and recently Lydia Nance?) and apparently the writers know that too, because Jubilee agrees with me: “I feel like I’ve seen this speech a million times, Bishop. When are they gonna just let it go already? And why does it always feel like the same boring politician in a suit giving it?”
Besides Jubilee and Bishop other X-Men are also present at the senator’s speech, including Northstar. As where the writer does not do that with the Mutant Liberation Front, here he lets Northstar explain why he has returned to the X-Men, so Northstar is not just thrown in. The speech is interrupted by a horde of Madrox dupes who cannot prevent the senator from suddenly disappearing. The story ends with Kitty Pryde and the senator being imprisoned at an unknown location while they discover none other than Apocalypse is their fellow prisoner!
In conclusion Uncanny X-men #1 is fine
For a first issue this is certainly a nice ending, because you wonder who’s behind their abduction. After all, to imprison Apocalypse you have to come from a good family.
Mahmud Asrar is responsible for the art in this story. His style always reminds me of that of Stuart Immonen and R.B. Silva, but Asrar already has a decent record of service at Marvel, having drawn series like All-New All-Different Avengers, All-New X-Men and The Totally Awesome Hulk. His art is visually very strong this time. His strong side is mainly the facial expressions and action poses and less in the background or small details.
Uncanny X-Men #1 also contains three backup stories, which are all related to the main story: Bishop searching for Dark Beast but ends with having killed Sugar Man. Jean Grey who has a conversation with an eldery woman but is confronted by group of possessed citizens with superpowers, and Anole and Armor who fight Dark Beast in the Midtown sewers. Those three stories come together in the last one where we see a man in the shadows while the eldery woman dies in Jean’s arms. In these stories the dialogues are actually more interesting than the action. Especially Armor and Anole complaining the X-Men still don’t regard them as their equal, is a big plus. Fans of the students have often indicated the young X-Men trainees are too often used as a filler room or cannon fodder (by the writers and the X-Men). Hopefuly the writer will elaborate on this in the next issues.
Uncanny X-Men #1 is a fine first issue. It doesn’t have a “wow” feeling, but it does make you curious about the next issue. 3 out of 5 stars!