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Comic Review: Uncanny X-Men #3

Uncanny X-Men #3 Marvel NOW! cover Magneto by Chris Bachalo

Cyclops’ motley crew of vets and newbies faces off against the Avengers’ A-team with some unexpected results in Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo’s Uncanny X-Men #3.

Teased at the end of issue #2, this pseudo-AvX rematch is made special by youngster Eva Bell and her fellow newcomers. Scott Summers goes into full-on self-righteous propaganda spouting mode, but the new mutants are simply star-struck to be in the presence of Captain America and his allies.

Chris Bachalo draws a solid Avengers team, and his battle-scarred Hulk is particularly great. Captain Marvel gets the Troll doll haircut this time (isn’t it fun charting her hairstyles?) and Magick and Emma Frost are starting to look a little too similar, but overall, the art is a lot of fun.

Cyclops and Iron Man bring plenty of bad blood to the encounter, but Bendis wisely avoids outright rehashing the past by using Eva as a fresh perspective on the history between the two teams. She and the trigger-happy Hawkeye definitely steal the show and lighten up an issue that Cyclops threatens to drag down with dogmatic proclamations.

Bendis is making it easy to love the kids and hard to love the adults. It feels like Scott takes a step back toward being a jerk here, and the Avengers sow some seeds of doubt in the newbies, meaning we’re bound to see some conflict between them and their elders in future issues.

This time, though, the clash is with turncoat Magneto, who has a lot of explaining to do after giving his allies up to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers.

While the story is clever throughout, it’s worth paying attention to the quiet presence of modern media in this comic. Bendis is proving quite skilled at showing the popular perspective on the X-Men through the lens of the ordinary person. In this issue, Cyclops collects a crowd when he faces the Avengers, and when he starts pontificating about the mutant cause, there are camera phones out to record it all. Add that to little details in other titles, like the oft-seen Cyclops Rolling Stone cover in All-New X-Men, and it’s clear Bendis is adding mass media appeal to Cyclops’ mutant campaign – something Magneto never had.

Bendis has spent just the right amount of time letting us get to know this new team. Finally, he’s taking them out into the world, first to encounter the Avengers, and, soon, to battle a team they know only too well.

Watch for the Uncanny X-Men to meet the All-New X-Men in the very near future.

8.5 out of 10

  1. March 16, 2013 at 1:05 am

    I agree about Bendis’ exploration into the use of new media in creating social change – it’s really interesting. Scott’s tumblr-friendly arm-crossing and revolutionary rhetoric really would be eaten up by youth culture. I thought Morrison said all there was to say about mutants as chic, but Bendis is doing some interesting stuff.

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