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Comic Review: Uncanny X-Men #1

Chris Bachalo Uncanny X-Men Marvel NOW! Cyclops Magneto new costume

Brian Michael Bendis’ Uncanny X-Men #1 is the flip side to his All-New X-Men: it’s dark, angry, righteous and mature, where it’s companion comic is young, energetic, and slightly naive. They are two sides to the same story, but this definitely feels like the bad guy side of that story.

Uncanny X-Men is pretty much what you’d expect from its setup in All-New X-Men. Scott Summers has drawn Magneto, Emma Frost, Magik, and others to his banner, and he’s out to rally the world’s new mutants to his cause. As we’ve seen earlier, that involves teleporting to a new mutant’s coming out party and whisking him away to Scott’s Professor Xavier School for the Gifted.

That’s the basic plot here, with one twist: there’s a traitor on Cyclops’ team, and that traitor is ready to spill the beans to S.H.I.E.L.D. about Scott’s broken powers.

This first issue has the distinct feel of a companion comic to the main All-New X-Men title. It doesn’t bring a whole lot of originality to the story, and it’s not clear how this team will clash with the Wolverine and Kitty Pryde crew. No doubt both titles will begin to dovetail in the future, but for now, this feels like an extended “here’s what the other guys are doing” kind of comic.

The writing is strong and hits all the same notes with the elder Cyclops that it’s touched on before. Scott is angry, self-righteous, and guarded about his diminished powers. So is Magneto, for that matter; the Master of Magnetism is nonplussed about being relegated to a minor cog when it comes time to battle some Sentinels.

Chris Bacholo’s art is very sharp, particularly in his character redesigns. The X visor on Cyclops looks fantastic, and is a welcome redesign for a character who has seen his fair share of hideous costumes. Magneto’s knight helmet and silver getup is also amazing. Only Emma Frost suffers from the redesign, as she suddenly looks very teenage.

The only true flaw with the art lies in the colours, though that is largely due to the settings. Half of the story takes place in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s sterile interrogation room, and the other half is set in a grey San Diego street with a dull pink sky.

Uncanny X-Men delivers on the revolutionary feel of Cyclops’ X-Men and sticks to its promise of recruiting new mutants from around the globe. For now, they are not looking to cross paths with Wolverine’s school.

But how long will these two sides stay apart – and how long until Scott starts attacking the mutant oppressors?

8 out of 10

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